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gardener
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https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/robot-farmers-harvest-barley/

Robot farmers have successfully planted and harvested barley by themselves



Robot-ran farms have the potential to increase efficiency in the agriculture industry.

Humans have been cultivating plants for some 10,000 years and, for much of that time, we’ve used beasts of burden to help tend the fields. Just last century, humans turned from animal strength to machine power, leading to huge leaps in agricultural efficiency and scale. Over the past few years, farms have deployed emerging technologies like drones and autonomous driving systems to make the farmers’ job even less strenuous — but human hands were still needed throughout the process.

Now, researchers at Harper Adams University and agricultural company Precision Decisions have removed humans from the farm entirely in a project called Hands Free Hectare. From planting to tending and harvesting, no human stepped foot on the acre and a half barley farm in rural England. It was all done by robot farmers.


 
pollinator
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If we just wait patiently, Sarah Connor will be along shortly to save us.....






Can we play cards with them during their lunch break?
Terminator.jpg
[Thumbnail for Terminator.jpg]
 
pollinator
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During the beginnings of the industrial revolution, people were convinced that humans would all lose their jobs to machines.  It's no different now.
 
gardener
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One of the best things we can do is vote with our wallets and buy local.
 
pollinator
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Being a welder by trade, we were inundated with robotic welders. I never felt my job was jeopardized because every robot still needed a welder to monitor it. The computerized guys just could not monitor them because they did not know how to weld. When there was a weld quality issue they would instantly think it was a mechanical movement issue with the robot and reprogram the welder making the problem worse. For us welders, we could tell by the sound of the welding process what was wrong. Often times it was just a faulty welding tip that was bad, or the gas was not flowing properly, or the preheat was not right. Soon we were being taught to program the robots and took over the computer programing guys jobs.
 
gardener
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A quote from within the link within the link

Among the tasks assigned to the autonomous vehicles and drones were drilling channels to precise depths for barley seeds to be planted; applying specific amounts of fungicides, herbicides, and fertilizers; and, finally, harvesting the crops once they were ready.

  So, not really permaculture by any stretch of the imagination, or even conventional organic for that matter.  I'm sure the inventors are trying to do good, but the thought of this is a bit unnerving.  Maybe it's just my Luddite urges getting the best of me.  I think the only people this will hurt are the ones who practice and are invested heavily in large scale conventional  mechanical chemical ag on their farms.  I don't think smaller hands-on operations which specialize in diversity and soil building will be effected. 

vote with our wallets and buy local.


They are planning to make beer from their barley. It looks like it might be marketed as "hands free".   I'm not planning to buy any.  I support the local brewery, called Three Ranges in Valemount, but I actually prefer the philosophy and the beer of Crannog Ales and Left Fields , who are a micro brewery with their own organic farm about 5 hours from my place, in Salmon Arm, B.C..
 
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Todd Parr wrote:During the beginnings of the industrial revolution, people were convinced that humans would all lose their jobs to machines.  It's no different now.


A sample size of 1 can not provide a heck of a lot of confidence in any conclusion or interpretation of an event.  It may (and probably will) be very, very different this time.  If western civilisation had gone through 31 Industrial Revolutions, and none had proven to be particularly disruptive, then one could confidently say the next one would be unlikely to be any different — but that never happened.

If I recall correctly, people who study this sort of thing as their day job predict that half of the world's jobs will be replaced by 'robots' by mid-century (in a generation and a half).  Given how many jobs have already been replaced in the last 30 years, that target seems pretty reasonable.  Maybe even conservative.

Regardless of when any arbitrary level of job loss is reached, I think the implications will be — already are — seismic.  Interest rates across the west are at historically low levels — levels that have never, ever been seen before.  The powers that be are frantically trying to eliminate cash and shoehorn currencies into a digital form that can have negative interest rates imposed upon them.  Markets are completely disconnected from fundamentals (aka 'reality').  We're in completely, utterly, uncharted economic territory.

About the only things I am confident of is that the future will be volatile, change will be rapid, and lots of people will be left behind and suffer as a consequence.  Having no debt, owning your own land, producing your own food and generating your own energy will position folks well to survive (and perhaps even prosper in) that sort of future.
 
pollinator
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There certainly seems to be a lack of regulation/control over the digital realm. Which results in significant growth in the field. AI perception and learning is a significant area that once unlocked, will really get the ball rolling whether we are in control of it or not.

Will we see a collapse into a Terminator dystopia? Or a Star Trek-like world where people can focus their energy towards life-fulfilling goals because the simpler/menial tasks are taken care of by machines that we fully control?

Will sentient AI result in us facing a Wall-E form of control that most just glide along, from cradle to grave, or maybe a Brave New World where most are taught their place and just accept it, with a few permaculture enthusiasts living out in THE WILD, hoping to not get pulled back into the trap? Or even worse, AI decides to evolve beyond the need for this planet altogether, and irreparably damage it as they leave in some Childhood's End sort of way?

The sad/scary thing is, we will have no idea what will happen, until it is already upon us and likely too late to complain.

Gulp.
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
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Tim Pasanen wrote:

Todd Parr wrote:During the beginnings of the industrial revolution, people were convinced that humans would all lose their jobs to machines.  It's no different now.


A sample size of 1 can not provide a heck of a lot of confidence in any conclusion or interpretation of an event. 



You can call it a sample size of one if you like.  I call it a sample size in the 10's of millions, which is the number of people affected.  Even then, there were several major events that caused the same reaction.

Any kind of significant change to society brings doom-and-gloom people out of the woodwork.  If machines start farming, people will be needed to build the machines, to obtain the materials to make the machines, to maintain the machines, to deliver the machines, and on and on and on.  The industrial revolution was going to be the end of humans, then the computer revolution, then robotics (which are already used extensively in manufacturing), then AI. 
 
garden master
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Imagine what you could do with a robot the size of a lawn mower that could do basic farm tasks. Specialization is the key at large scale, flexibility is key at the small scale. You can currently only do dense biointensive planting by hand. What if you had a basic robot that could snake a planting tool in between a dense thicket of tomatoes and plant basil seedlings. You sort of can get rid of the concept of "turning over" a bed to plant a new crop. You also don't need a tool to blanket your garden with compost. A robot with a bucket and a trowel could spot-apply compost around any plant you think needs it. If you had a $2000-$5000 yard robot, it would let you manage 1-2 acres intensively instead of 1/4 acre. That's a hell of a lot of potential for the home(small scale) producer.

Any level of automation at a large scale of production can usually be scaled down to a smaller level for tools. Especially since most of it isn't robotics, but software. You will embrace your new robot overlords when you come home from work and your yard robot tells you that 7 peaches, 3 tomatoes, and 1/4lb of lettuce are ready for harvest today. "Would you like me to harvest them? Yes/No"
 
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