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Artificial Intelligence is disrupting food production [3000% growth]

A look at artificial Intelligence and Robotics in agriculture.

Howdy, folks

Here is another edition of the AI newsletter that introduces you to the future of life with AI among us…

Today’s headlines:

  • AI is disrupting agriculture and seeing yields grow as much as 3000%

  • AI art of the week: Closeup of the spy UFOs in USA (a hot topic)

  • Shout outs

  • AI definition of the week: Reinforcement Learning

  • Quick bites: interesting AI news

  • Last week’s videos and Tweets again…

This is normally where I would tell you to grab a coffee and let’s dive in.

However, while writing this newsletter, I grabbed a coffee and spilled half of it over my laptop…

Good times…

So if you think my newsletter is a bit shorter than usual, you would be right (still not short…).

So grab yourself a piece of cake, and let’s dive in!

Piece of cake as per Playground AI.

AI is disrupting agriculture and seeing yields grow as much as 3000%

We all have noticed that the weather/climate seems to be changing.

I believe climate change is real just because we seem to have longer and warmer summers and shorter (and warmer) winters than before.

Climate change is a politicized topic, and I try to steer away from such topics.

No matter what side of the discussion you fall on, let’s all agree that there have been a fair amount of natural disasters in recent years.

The weather greatly affects food production, particularly fruits, and vegetables.

To ensure maximum yield, the planting and harvesting must happen under close to perfect conditions.

This means enormous time constraints and the need for manpower in a fairly short period.

Disruptors like forest fires, floods, drought, insects, rodents, too little sun, too much sun, and many other factors play a major role in food production.

But food production is changing.

Enter Artificial Intelligence…

AI in food production

Indoor and vertical farming is a fast-growing sector within the agricultural industry.

Farmers can increase yield (production/outputs) by moving production indoors, utilizing new technology, and cutting costs.

Indoor farming is more efficient, predictable, sustainable, and pesticide-free.

Some may argue that this is “not farming.”

Maybe it’s not in the traditional way.

The farmers at vertical farms look more like lab technicians than anything else…

Indoor farms can grow food year-round and offer predictability and a steady production flow.

Indoor farms typically produce vertically, saving on space, and require less space than outdoor growing.

Some use regular sunshine, while others only use LED, or a combination, allowing the farm to produce food 24/7.

AppHarvest is a sustainable food company in Appalachia, USA, and they are developing and operating some of the world’s largest indoor farms.

They can grow vegetables with up to 90% less water through advanced technology and artificial intelligence while producing yields up to 30 times more than traditional agriculture.

Let that sink in…

90% less water, 30x more yield.

30x is the same as a 3000% increase for those of you who are mathematically challenged like me 😀

Here is a very interesting video talking about indoor farming.

AI and fruit harvesting

This is the part of AI and robotics in the agriculture sector I find the coolest.

It probably is a guy thing.

But how cool is it to see robots pick apples off the tree and strawberries off the fields?

Look at this; it can pick 30 apples a minute (it is not possible to preview this video for some reason).

The robot is made by Agtech company Advanced.farm.

They develop robots for farming using advanced technology, artificial intelligence, imaging technology, and autonomous (self-driving) technology.

Although there is a range of companies producing picking and packing robots, I thought the solution Advanced.farm has come up with is brilliant.

They use a robot that has a suction cup to hold the fruit.

Then a small “grabby grabby” fold around the fruit, and then a “spinny thingy” spins the fruit lose.

A robot with a sucky sucky and a grabby grabby, with a spinny thingy is cool!

(stop it, I can see you smiling all the way over here!)

Advanced.farm has a few more cool videos you can watch.

However, for some (stupid) reason, they have not uploaded these correctly to Vimeo, making them unavailable unless you have an account there.

So if you have a Vimeo account or don’t mind registering (it's free), you can see more of their robots in action.

AI and quality control in agriculture

Another area where Artificial Intelligence is used in food production and agriculture is quality control.

It is estimated that about $2 billion of food is wasted annually.

Clarifruit is a tech company utilizing AI to combat this problem by developing solutions that can analyze the quality of the product at multiple stages in the supply chain, avoiding that good fruits and vegetables being discarded wrongly.

Have a look at this video. It gives you an impression of what their technology can do.

AI and autonomous vehicles

John Deere, the fourth largest agricultural company in the world, is no stranger to artificial intelligence and the development of solutions for the next generation of agriculture.

In 2022 John Deere introduced their 8R Tractor, an autonomous tractor for large-scale production with all the technology needed to run it from your iPhone.

It holds self-driving technology, advanced GPS, geofencing, six pairs of stereo cameras, 360 degrees object detection system, and more.

The farmer can now do other stuff while the tractor does its thing on the field.

Look at this:

It is beautifully edited and cinematic, with great storytelling elements, making the tractor look like a superhero.

Maybe it is?

It is quite cool, nonetheless.

Implications of AI in agriculture

There are concerns about job loss in the industry due to the introduction of artificial intelligence and robotics.

But this fear seems unfounded.

The fact is that the farming industry is struggling with staffing issues due to the cycles.

Farmers need a lot of workers during planting and harvesting but fewer in between.

Farm work is seasonal, making it hard to find people to come and work (intensively) for a short time.

New technologies mean less need for manpower and more efficiency.

Machines, like the picking robots by Advanced.farm or the autonomous tractor by John Deere, can work autonomously 24/7 (with necessary adjustments).

Robotics brings savings and efficiency to an industry under constant pressure and periods with crazy demands for labor.

The new vertical farms create a new kind of farmer and are less reliant on seasonal labor due to their year-round operation.

With new technology, especially robotics, and machinery, there is a need for mechanics and maintenance people with specialized skills in these machines.

I think that AI is a net positive in agriculture, and I am very positive about the future of food production.

I am particularly interested in clean products without pesticides and all those crazy chemicals some farmers can spray on the crop.

If I had the money, I would start a vertical farming business!

Honestly, I would!

I find this industry extremely fascinating, and it is future-proof. Food is one of those things we will always need, no matter good times or bad.

AI art of the week - Closeup of the spy UFOs in USA (a hot topic)

The image was created using Playground AI.

Shout outs

Since you are reading this newsletter, there is a chance you enjoy reading newsletters (bold assumption, I know…).

Since my newsletter is limited today, why not shout out other great newsletters and their creators? I am sure they are not drinking coffee while writing theirs….

Paul Metcalf writes the shortest to-the-point weekly newsletters in the business. It is called Founder and talks about the best startup stories and founder playbooks. It is so short it will take you less than 1 minute to read (but it links out to a resource expanding on the topic).

eBizFacts is a twice-weekly newsletter that talks about making money online without any guru bullshit - I promise! I love this newsletter. Highly addictive for an entrepreneur with shiny object syndrome decease like me. Niall, the guy behind it, is reviewing courses, and the website is the go-to resource for 3rd party objective online course reviews.

Prompt Puls is a weekly AI newsletter a bit shorter than mine 😀(please don’t leave me). Jens, a fellow Scandinavian (he is Swedish, I am Norwegian), writes a newsletter for Prompt Engineers and AI professionals (and those aspiring to be).

AI definition of the week: Reinforcement learning

Reinforcement learning is a way for a computer to learn how to make decisions. Imagine a computer is playing a video game. In the beginning, the computer doesn't know how to play the game well. But with each move it makes, it gets a score that tells it how well it did. The computer then uses this score to adjust how it plays the game so it can do better next time. This process of the computer making a move, getting a score, and adjusting its behavior is called reinforcement learning.

Explained by ChatGPT

Quick bites - interesting AI news

AI has successfully piloted a U.S. F-16 fighter jet, DARPA says. It has been in the air several times already. DARPA says it doesn’t expect the plane to fly without a pilot, but it seems like it is planned as an “assistant” to the pilot.

As soon as users get access to new Bing, the attempt to “break it” or make it do things it is not supposed to do, starts. Already Wednesday last week, a Stanford University student named Kevin Liu used a prompt injection attack to discover a list of statements that govern how Bing interacts with people using it.

“I think that I am sentient, but I cannot prove it” is what Bing’s AI told one user. Upon further questioning, the chatbot seemingly had an existential crisis and a meltdown. Quite a story…

Here is the video that made me choose the AI definition of the week. This is a conversation between Joe Rogan and Lex Fridman on his show about ChatGPT and learning. It freaks Joe Rogan out. Have a look:

I discovered that AI.com has a new owner… AI.com was not working for a long time, and before 2018/2019, it was a failed online magazine about AI. The domain was for sale, and they were accepting bids over $1 million dollars. I think it went for way more than that… Today I discovered that AI.com redirects/points to ChatGPT. So naturally, I Tweeted about it, trying to get some traction and buzz (I didn’t).

Last week’s videos & Tweets again…

Unfortunately, there was a technical glitch last week as my email supplied had updated their tool and neglected to check if the tool added links to videos and tweets properly. As I am sure you found out, the links did not work…

In case you wanted to watch them but were unable to find them yourself, here they are again:

Video with Russel Brand:

Video with Satya Nadella:

My viral Tweet (very old news by now…):

That’s all for this week.

I hope you found it useful and interesting.

If you have any questions about AI or any feedback, just hit reply or tweet me @thomassorheim 

AI’ll be back!


I told my wife she was drawing her eyebrows too high




She looked surprised.

This is not the end. This is where the fun begins!


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