Microsoft’s Agricultural AI

AI can lead to an increase in food supply, which we will need by 2050.

OpenPR

AI can lead to an increase in food supply, which we will need by 2050.

Ryan Fredrick, Reporter

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America is running out of food. By 2050, with an estimated 9.8 billion people on the planet, humans will need to increase the food supply by approximately 70 percent. Microsoft is looking to help with their new project that involves using robots, ground-based wireless sensors and drones to assess growing conditions, according to an article from Cloudblogs.Microsoft.com.

“The future of artificial intelligence is amazing and terrifying… We are progressing so much as a society that we are having robots make our food for us. It’s scary because if we start having a dependency on these things, we are no longer independent,” sophomore Seth Chaplin said.

Currently, nearly half of current food produced, or 2 billion tons a year, ends up as waste, while an estimated 124 million people in 51 countries face food insecurity or worse. In addition, new sources of arable land are limited, fresh water levels are receding, and climate change puts pressure on resources and will lower agricultural production over time, according to the article.

“Agricultural artificial intelligence could be really helpful to feed the world. We can’t always rely on humans to produce things, sometimes, we have to give it to the robots,” junior Sophia Giltner said.

AI and machine learning interpret findings for farmers, helping them continually tweak crop inputs to boost yields. Farmers can use AI to determine the optimal date to sow crops, precisely allocate resources such as water and fertilizer, identify crop diseases for treatment, and detect and destroy weeds, according to the Microsoft Article.

“This agricultural artificial intelligence could change the way we develop our food. It could revolutionize the way we use everything. It might put people out of farming jobs, but it would also create so many more jobs in its place,” junior Kelsey Powers said.

Artificial Intelligence will, if steadily worked on, l help farmers evolve into agricultural technologists, using data to optimize yields down to individual rows of plants. Farmers without connectivity can get AI benefits right now, with tools as simple as an SMS-enabled phone and the Sowing App.