In the US alone, the Department of Agriculture estimates 30 to 40 percent of food ends up in landfills. A startup called Wasteless thinks machine learning can play a part in addressing the issue. The company has developed an AI-powered system for automatically reducing the price of perishable food items as they spend more time on store shelves. The closer a product is to its best before date, the cheaper it will be to buy. And you'll see all of that reflected in the price tags grocery stores have on their shelves.
While pesticide spraying protects crops against pests, weeds, and diseases, it can also be harmful to neighbouring crops and wildlife. This unwanted movement of pesticides, known as spray drift, however, could potentially be trackable, thanks to a project developed between Monash University's Faculty of Information Technology, Bard AI, PentaQuest, and AgriSci. The project combines an artificial intelligence model and augmented reality to enable farmers to see a real-time visual representation of the possible spray drift on their phones. The presentation also allows farmers to view the impact the spray drift could have on neighbouring crops if spraying were to occur during poor conditions, such as when there are strong wind speeds. Farmers are also able use to the system to understand "what if" scenarios to improve their spray plan and understand the potential impact of spray drift. "Information alone does not change behaviour and the use of advanced technology doesn't ensure the adoption of new platforms by farmers.
Climate change is the planet's greatest challenge. The UN has already stated that 2021 is the final year for us to make real change in the fight against rising global temperatures. The UN organization is hosting the COP26 climate summit to address this dilemma of the century, where major players like Hitachi and BCG are involved as partners in this critical effort. Moreover, with Climate AI Champions in the picture, these innovators could provide the right solutions we need in the fight for survival and growth. The climate change crisis is real, finding quick and affordable solutions is an urgency, and AI can play a major role.
Robots! Whether you love them or fear them, you can't deny they are pretty useful. One such robot is the autonomous weeder by Carbon Robotics. According to its website page, the robot " leverages robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and laser technology to safely and effectively drive through crop fields to identify, target and eliminate weeds." "Unlike other weeding technologies, the robots utilize high-power lasers to eradicate weeds through thermal energy, without disturbing the soil. The automated robots allow farmers to use fewer herbicides and reduce labor to remove unwanted plants while improving the reliability and predictability of costs, crop yield, and more."
In a sunny field in Hampshire, a killer robot is on the prowl. Once its artificial intelligence engine has locked on to its target, a black electrode descends and delivers an 8,000-volt blast. A crackle, a puff of smoke, and the target is dead – a weed, boiled alive from the inside. It is part of a fourth agricultural revolution, its makers say, bringing automation and big data into farming to produce more while harming the environment less. Pressure to cut pesticide use and increasing resistance to the chemicals meant killing weeds was the top priority for the farmers advising the robot company.
"Over 40 per cent of businesses believe that the model they're using today will cease to exist in five years," says Clare Barclay, chief operating officer of Microsoft UK. "All sorts of technology, AI included, is changing the shape of the business landscape." Data from Microsoft's Maximising the AI Opportunity report shows that early adopters of enterprise AI have already seen a five per cent improvement in productivity, performance and business outcomes compared to those that have yet to explore this exciting new field. The AI tools they're working with include chatbots for first-line customer support and sales, forecasting and data simulation algorithms, and automation functions such as process simulation for science and manufacturing, allowing production lines to be made more efficient. The report combines survey data from 4,000 employees and 1,000 business leaders at enterprises with expert guidance, all to help shed light on the rise of artificial intelligence and help businesses approach AI in an informed, ethical and cost-effective manner. How can technology play a role in helping businesses solve problems?
One Illinois researcher is looking for farmers in the Midwest to tell her their stories and thoughts of artificial intelligence in the agriculture industry. Monika Sziron is a PhD student at Illinois Institute of Technology studying the ethics of AI with a concentration in Midwestern agriculture. "If you were to go back to the threshing machine, that revolutionized the way that we thresh wheat and small grains. That used to be something that would bring the entire farming community together," Sziron said. "Technology always has this ability to change not only how we do business and farming and agriculture, but the actual experience of farming and agriculture. That is what has really drawn me to this study."
Russia is claiming the first standard production artificial intelligence powered combine harvesters will come to market this month. Autonomous driving technology specialist, Cognitive Pilot, and Bryanskselmash, agricultural equipment manufacturer, have agreed fit automated drive technology to series produced harvesters rolling off the production line from the end of April 2021. The partners plan to expand joint marketing and other activities that will increase the attractiveness of the solution and expand its geographical reach. In another venture, Cognitive Pilot and Rosagroleasing, Russia's largest state-owned agricultural leasing company, have announced first contracts for AI-based agricultural equipment. This will make equipment available to domestic agricultural enterprises, seeking to improve efficiency, including both medium-size and small-size enterprises.
Climate change is a clear and present danger to the world economy. The tech industry bears its share of responsibility, not just for carbons emission but deforestation, plastic, chemical and other waste contamination, resource depletion and other damaging activities. But the tech industry also has the capacity to dramatically change the trajectory of all these problems; to at least slow down, if not reverse, the harm being done to our one and only planet. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in particular is already having a remarkable impact on issues that seemed intractable only a few years ago. Rather than being bad for the climate, AI is proving to help.
The Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Landgate have jointly developed a new online pastoral remote sensing (PRS) tool designed to help local farmers and graziers make more informed decisions about land management. The free online resource tool uses satellite imagery from NASA and the Copernicus Australasia Regional Data Hub to provide current and historical estimates of total green biomass, vegetation cover, total dry bass, and cumulative rainfall for every pastoral lease in the state. Western Australia agriculture and food minister Alannah MacTiernaan said the modelled information can be used by pastoralists as a guide for on-ground monitoring and measurement, compare ground cover condition, and observe seasonal trends, which can then all be used to inform decisions around feed budgets and stocking rates, for instance. "This new resource will be particularly useful in dry seasons, informing crucial stock and land management decisions to best manage the condition of both the animals and the rangelands," she said. "This means pastoralists can be more agile in managing their operations, while optimising the condition of the rangelands according to seasonal variability."