Have you heard of artificial intelligence farming? AI is changing the world more and more every year, and the technology is rapidly expanding all the time.
From the world of medicine to business enterprises all over the world and even setting up shop in our own homes through connectivity Internet of Things and home assistants, AI is really starting to create a name for itself.
However, through the groundbreaking uses and integrated functions and features, there’s one use of AI that an increasing number of people are starting to look into and is perhaps one that hasn’t crossed the mind of a vast majority of people, and that is how AI can be used for gardening.
Gardening? AI? While it’s true you never thought about putting two and two together, there is undoubtedly a rising industry that’s forming and is changing the game for everyone.
But how? What’s changing? How is AI having an impact on the gardening world? In today’s article, we’re going to find out more about artificial intelligence farming and gardening.
Artificial Intelligence in the Gardening World
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), by 2021, global spending on artificial intelligence will increase to around $342 billion.
Previous reports estimated this exact figure would be around $58 billion, so this should indicate just how unprecedented the growth of this industry has become over the last few years.
The leisure, production, finance, and banking sectors will account for half of global spending on AI-powered equipment and technologies, but there’s no doubt the gardening and farming industry (as well as the agricultural industries) have become the newest and promising field where AI is being used.
This is happening in a number of different ways. For example, chatbots and artificial intelligence-powered technologies are increasingly being used in gardening and agricultural operations, particularly in Asia and South America.
A lot of people are also using AI in these areas to educate themselves on the power and infrastructure that AI can provide, allowing them to prepare for the future and giving them a platform in which to apply AI in new and creative ways in other industries.
So, let’s dig down a little deeper. Why is AI being used in this way in what you initially thought is quite an obscure industry?
Well, most notably, gardeners and farmers all over the world face so many issues and problems all the time. There are so many problems with the farming industry, and if they’re not addressed, this can cause so many supply and economic problems.
Blight wipes out your crop? The supply chain suffers, and the community that relies on the income that the land provides suffers.
Other issues like unwanted insects and pests can devastate crops. Water supplies can falter or become polluted, which leaves crops without required resources in which to thrive.
This is also a common problem with resource management in all areas of the industry, including managing pesticides, managing food and fertilizer, managing fuel for the machines, organizing logistics and timings, and even organizing enough workforce to ensure everything runs smoothly.
That’s the thing with food supplies and the industry in general. The farm could produce everything perfectly and on time, but if an issue arises, such as the 2022 UK fuel shortage due to a lack of lorry drivers, the food can sit at the farm, it goes off, and thus becomes usable.
It’s such an incredibly fragile industry where one negative variable can ruin everything. This is where AI comes into play.
Ai can help assist with problems like not knowing which pesticide to use on produce, not knowing when to plant a specific crop, not understanding the crop's nutritional deficiency, and not knowing how to shop for farm equipment.
In the absence of AI monitoring and constant analysis, plants might contract airborne, waterborne, or soil-borne diseases that may go untreated. Today, artificial intelligence can detect the real issue and assist in the preservation of the environment, and all in real-time.
This means farmers can keep on top of issues and constantly changing variables, addressing problems with actionable solutions that resolve the problems quickly and keep things moving smoothly, which is especially important in time-sensitive industries like agriculture.
AI has also proven to be consistently effective in assisting with tasks such as crop management and inspection, plant watering, and pesticide application. It’s clever stuff, and many are blown away with how futuristic it is.
For many farmers and landowners, it’s interactive, intuitive, and informative, and while it does have some teething issues being integrated with some ways of working, there’s certainly time for this to take place. Of course, these same rules can apply to gardens, especially private gardens.
In addition to managing when you should water and how to deal with pests and problems, like the agriculture industry, there is also a massive wave of apps and services that help gardeners identify plants, highlight problems with their plants, and detail how to specifically keep everything healthy and growing to the best of its ability.
Uses of Artificial Intelligence in the Agricultural Industry
As before, AI is making waves in the sector of farming and agriculture through agricultural robotics, soil and plant monitoring, and data-driven predictions. This might all sound a little complex, but it’s not.
Think about how certain processes take place in the farming industry, such as probes that monitor whether plants have the right levels of moisture and hydration in the soil.
If the AI determines they don’t, then the connected sprinkler or watering systems can be turned on automatically until the levels are pretty much perfect by definition.
Soil data and crop production data are saved and analyzed to create algorithms that determine how much water and light the plant receives.
As is true with all AIs, the more data the system has to work with, especially over long periods of time, the more effective it can be. But why is this the case, and why such an investment?
Well, with the world population predicted to increase to 9 billion people by 2050, there’s no doubt that food security is a major concern that a lot of people are thinking about. If we’re not able to create a stable food supply, there may be a future danger to food security for all.
“To ensure food security for all, worldwide statistics and estimates show that food production must increase by around 70%. That’s on top of making sure that we’re able to minimize the environmental effect of the agriculture industry and start integrating renewable energy supplies where possible.
This is pretty much impossible for humans to do without the help or assistance of technology, which is why the introduction and integration of AI is such an important step,” shares Marie Holder, a writer at Origin Writings and Brit Student.
To be bold, the making and evolution of AI farming and AI gardening accessible and inexpensive to the general public will be another significant step forward for humanity.
What’s more, with the rise of urban farmers, those farmers who provide agricultural supplies in cities and towns, AI devices are invaluable for growing vegetables, medicinal plants, herbs, fruits, and other items at home using AI-powered devices.
This is happening both commercially and privately, with people growing their own food in their own homes, even when they have little knowledge or experience with what they’re doing.
Overall, whether you’re looking into large-scale agricultural projects that already exist or the introduction of new urban farming projects, the long-term goal is to hyper-localize food production in less time, regardless of environmental temperature or farming and gardening ability.
This will tick the security, environmental issues, and logistic boxes as much as possible.
How AI is the Future of Vertical Farming
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that farming remains the most important and significant human discovery, and this will continue to be the case as time moves on, especially with the demands becoming greater and the potential consequences becoming increasingly severe.
This is why groups of people like Microsoft scientists are using a combination of data science, artificial intelligence, and big data analysis to revolutionize the way traditional farming is done.
Indoors, they're seeding, cultivating, and harvesting seeds at precise temperatures aided by data analytics and artificial intelligence to ensure the most productive and most fruitful yield possible.
There are other additions to this technology. Stuff like
- Biodegradable plant pots
- Nutrient dose systems
- Oxygen control systems
- Micro-climate controllers
- live stream cameras
- pH & TDS sensors
- water level sensors
- water temperature sensors
- air temperature sensors and controls
- humidity sensors
- light sensors
- chatbots with in-built speech sensors
All of these technologies have uses in the growing process and can be monitored and controlled by AI machines with minimal human interaction, meaning that so much efficiency can be adopted, promoting even more powerful results, especially when it comes to vertical and urban farming.
What is Vertical farming?
“Vertical farming is carried out indoors using 1mm x 1mm x 1mm cubes interconnected by reusable plastic tubes. These LEDs serve as a heat and light source in these cubes,” explains Jason Taylor, a gardening blogger at Write my X and 1 Day 2 write.
“You then take a microcomputer, which is also connected to each of these individual cubes, which serves as the brain of each vertical farming unit.
It’s this AI computer that regulates the amount of water in each tank, the humidity, and the development process of the plant. If one of the factors isn’t right, then the computer adjusts the settings accordingly to correct it, thus maximizing the chances of successful growth.”
Using these methods, vegetables, microgreens, fruits, flowers, mushrooms, herbs, and other plants can be cultivated under a favorable combination of blue, red, and white light to stimulate natural growth regardless of the residential environment.
In short, you’re able to grow more food while using less water and resources. In the same way, using AI-powered farming and gardening in times of water scarcity will help save water.
It’s also a pollution-free method because it runs on solar energy. Intelligent agriculture maximizes return on investment, making it a wise financial decision.
There are also a ton of other considerations, however, that need to be noted.
- Agriculture is a decentralized industry. If everyone starts growing their own food at home, then there’s no need for farmers, which could completely liquidate the industry.
- However, food will be fresher and healthier because pesticides and herbicides will be used sparingly in home environments. Restaurants can produce their own ingredients and use them within hours of harvesting.
- Food will be less expensive because it will be so widely and easily available.
- Because plants are grown domestically, countries will not need to be imported from other countries. This may sound like an abstract idea, but if growing conditions can be optimized, you could easily grow what is now exotic food in your own home. This is what hyper-localization opportunities will truly create.
- In situations where farming is difficult, perhaps due to variables like arid, semi-arid, and drought-stricken areas, this kind of farming can change everything since resources will be managed optimally by computers, massively reducing the risk of mismanagement.
Artificial Intelligence Farming Conclusion
For now, it’s interesting to see how AI is changing the game, and there’s no doubt that as the industry evolves over the next few years and decades, that more benefits and opportunities will present themselves.
Regardless, this is no doubt an exciting time with many eyes around the world eager to see where the industry goes next.
George J. Newton is a business manager and agricultural commentator at Write my assignment and Dissertation writing service.
He has been married for ten years and travels the world while looking for new ideas and technologies while documenting their impact. He also writes for Next Coursework.