At the recent IBM Think 2019 Conference, fascinating artificial intelligence (“AI”) innovations were showcased; these are approaches in development to help meet the needs of global stressed food and water ecosystems.
Forbes’ contributor Lee Bell outlined the work of scientists and developers at IBM’s research unit, telling the story from the conference with a “crop-to-trash” theme. These innovations are:
The Digital Twin – AI helping to accurately forecast crop yields (helping farmers to establish critical data points for arranging farm credit).
Blockchain – this is about using AI to help keep more food out of the waste system, and address numerous “unknowns” in the food supply chain; this is a Blockchain approach to help the value chain players (from planting to ordering to shipping) reduce food loss (food loss is a major factor in the herculean effort of addressing pressing hunger issues around the world).
Microbe Mapping – the use of millions of microbes to protect food with DNA and RNA sequencing using Big Data resources.
Food Detection AI Sensors – this is in the works now using advanced technology to help farmers, food processors, grocers, home cooks, to detect dangerous contaminants in food. Simple: using a cell phone or countertop AI sensor to spot e.Coli or Salmonella.
“VolCat – a welcoming note here as the IBM researchers look to eliminate existing plastics (such as those used in grocery bags) and develop new products that can be used again and again. VolCat is a catalytic chemical process designed to turn polyesters into a new substance to make new products.
Years back we attended an IBM briefing with a research head who explained that many products in the lab would be at market in five years or less if they worked out as planned. Today IBM continues on that path with its explanations of what the company’s research team members are looking at what could be possible five years from now…when the eight billionth person joins humanity and enters a world more connected and inter-dependent than ever (said Arvind Krishna, SVP of IBM Cloud & Cognitive Software).
Historians tell us that wandering tribes and clans of hunter-gatherers settled down somewhere in the Fertile Crescent to “farm” and raise food animals some 10,000-to-12,000 years ago and the practices they established changed ever-so-slowly over the millennia. Rapid change came in the modern times of agriculture” (some 200-to-500 years ago) with advances in mechanization, seed development, irrigation, crop rotation, selective breeding, preservation, plant nutrients, fertilizers, and recently, digitization of many tasks.
It will be fascinating to see what just the next five or ten years may bring in terms of technological developments for agriculture, ranching, food manufacturing and distribution, and related activities. Stay tuned to the IBM AI research efforts!
The IBM February gathering with the theme of “five in five” (5 innovations within 5 years) had a number of fascinating tech discussions, including “Human-Robot Interaction”, “How AI and Blockchain Will Change the Game”, “Trust and Ethics in Tech”, and IBM Chairwoman/CEO Ginni Rometty’s address – “Building Cognitive Enterprises”.
This Week’s Top Story
Sustainability Tech: The Top 5 Innovations Set To Transform Our Lives Over The Next Five Years
(Tuesday – February 26, 2019) Source: Forbes – Researchers unveiled a raft of innovations earlier this month that they claim will “change our lives the most over the next five years”, and they’re all related to the very things keeping us alive: food and water.