Food grown by robots on AI-powered farms. Welcome to summer!
Source: Future Today Institute
Summer is officially here. Farmers’ markets abound with bins filled with vegetables grown outside in wide open fields and in sunny gardens. But in the future, your food will be grown in an entirely different way, using genetically modified seeds and livestock at a tiny urban farm or big box retailer near you.
The future of farming is here, and it will look a lot different than in years’ past. Think: microfarms housed underground in office buildings and on neighborhood blocks and vertical farms housed in skyscrapers in urban centers. With no soil and no sun, these factories promise 365-day seasons and no threat of droughts, freezes or infestations. They can cultivate lettuce, spinach, basil, garlic and snow peas in the middle of cities––and often deliver 10 to 20 times the yield of conventional farms. All this, using robots, sensors, artificial intelligence, LED lights, better genomic editing, vertical staking techniques and more advanced hydroponic grow systems.
Why futurists care about the future of AgTech: Advances in agriculture tech intersect with lots of other fields, including artificial intelligence, robotics, biotech (like CRISPR), nanotech (microscopic, injectable robotics), augmented reality, self-driving vehicles, and drones. Development in any of these fields is often tied to experimentation and research in AgTech. But changes in the global supply of food tends to impact geopolitical and economic stability.
Why you, personally, should pay attention to AgTech: If you're a human who eats food, you should care deeply about the global food supply. Our global weather patterns and climates are in flux. It's plausible that the world's agricultural centers today won't be capable of sustaining commercial farms in the near-future. That means a dramatic shift in human migration. A recent study by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) says that tens of thousands of Bangladeshi families could become climate refugees within their own countries. It’s a problem that will get worse—a one-meter sea level rise could result in a 20% loss of Bangladesh’s current landmass. And it’s not just Bangladesh at risk.