DailyDirt: Robots For Farming

Robots are perfect for tedious and boring tasks, and they seem to be well-suited for the repetitive labor of farming. More and more robots are getting into the farming industry, with the potential to displace a lot of human labor. It might take some time before robots are growing a significant portion of our food supply, but farming technology could solve a lot of problems (and create a few more labor problems as well). Here are just a few more farming robots that might take over our farms. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

Filed Under: agriculture, ai, farming, harvest, helicopters, hydroponic, image recognition, lettuce, pesticides, rmax, robots, weeds
Companies: blue river technology, hortiplan

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  1. identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 12 Jul 2013 @ 10:36pm

    Electronic Immigration

    Once a physical job has been reduced to an information job, the information job can be outsourced in real time. For example, consider the lettuce-weeding machine. It has a physical method-- an overdose of fertilizer, squirted at specified coordinates; a camera; and a machine-vision program to distinguish between lettuces and weeds.

    Suppose that before being used, the machine-vision program's output were overlaid on the camera image (say a red circle for a weed, a blue one for a lettuce, and a yellow circle for a borderline case). This image would be sent to Bangladesh, to a remote village where there are very few sources of employment, and five or ten dollars a day is a good wage. There, a Bangladeshi farm-worker, who does not need to speak English or even to be literate, would sit in front of a screen, and clicks on the various circles with his mouse, correcting them, before they got squirted with fertilizer or not. The machine-vision system would be dynamically reprogrammed by the Bangladeshi farm-worker's choices, rather than being expensively reprogrammed by American computer scientists. This is important, because in different places, and at different seasons, there are different kinds of weeds. The Bangladeshi would adapt to new conditions, and the machine would adapt with him.

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