It might not have come to your attention that food is becoming scarcer but according to researchers, that’s a growing fear. The United Nations recently confirmed, more than 815 million people suffer the pangs of hunger and that number is rising, even with all the advancements seen in the current world. However, experts agree that artificial intelligence might offer solutions.
Almost coinciding with the UN’s report, other findings calculate that more than 10% of the world’s population find it extremely hard to place food on their tables.
But Poverty is Not the Only Cause of Hunger
Most times, we assume poverty to be the culprit that causes hunger, to some extends it is, but not always. At times, farmers in third world countries don’t have the right information to help them produce enough, that’s in terms of the right seeds, what soil goes with what crops, machinery and so on.
According to the World Food Program, hunger can also come as a result of displacement related to tribal and civil conflicts, or natural disasters like earthquakes and floods.
Planning is another major culprit. But on this aspect, already we have a team of scientists who are using artificial intelligence to identify ripe papayas that ought to go to the local market first, and those that can be exported, to ensure no fruit goes bad before reaching the consumer – which ideally means the same technology can be replicated on all other perishable farm produces. Hence reducing waste and financial loses.
Is AI Slowly Replacing Laborers in Farms?
In this case, Robert Opp, UN’s World Food Program director of Innovation puts it clear saying, “AI is coming to boost production, not replacing the human workforce or certain machinery, but to help farmers do more, and from a better approach.”
Crunching Data and Making It Available to Farmers
Machine intelligence thrives on data and facts, which ideally would help users make smarter decisions. The technology can crunch and analyze a wide range of data covering everything from food production to consumption. To help reveal, best planting times, better seeds and the recommended soils for specific food crops. It can also predict natural disasters and foretell areas prone to conflicts, to suggest the best solutions that can bring food to the affected.
In essence, the farmer doesn’t have to be an AI guru to benefit, all this information can be assessed through a smartphone. “Today’s average smartphone is powerful than the best computer that existed some 50 years ago. That equals to more than enough, computing power needed to transform a farmer in Africa, by giving them the right info generated by AI,” said Pranav Khaitan, scientist lead at Google AI.
New Agriculture-Based Technologies
Today, we have the cloud where different technologies can be served, people don’t have to travel the hard road of having to invest or develop such techs. Already in some industries, AI is served online, as a service – Alibaba being a good example as it currently helps a firm in China rear better pigs using its voice and speech technology.
In simple words, there is enough theoretical and practical proof that can help us fight hunger. However, it’s also clear that a great percentage of farmers in developing countries can’t afford simple technologies like a smartphone, internet connectivity or worst of all, they may lack the basic skills of communication in other languages beyond their native means.
Still, such challenges are manageable as well. Basic gadgets like smartphones can be supplied to farmers, free of charge. But before that, the United Nations together with other bodies need to engage the target societies to help impact the necessary education and communication skills. That is, the farmers will need training and the tools so they can effectively harness the numerous benefits in artificial intelligence.
Those working with humanitarian organizations need to look outside their borders. “With that, we can at least control global food insecurities by availing what’s needed in the developing world,” said Teddy Bekele, the VP of Ag Technology U.S.