FarmWise, and the Rise of the Agribots
Automating agriculture is a complex proposition given the number and variety of tasks involved, but a number of robotics and autonomy companies are giving it their best shot. FarmWise seems to have impressed someone — it just raised $14.5 million to continue development of its autonomous weeding vehicle.
Currently in the prototype stage, these vehicles look like giant lumbering personnel carriers or the like, but are in fact precision instruments which scan the ground for invasive weeds among the crop and carefully pluck them out.
A pretty impressive, lumbering, weed-pulling, beast-of-a-prototype. It looks like an absolute unit too:
These sorts of bots have became very well known in the auto industry, the textiles industry, and now they're coming to agriculture. Simply put, they're designed to replace mundane awful tasks previously occupied by human hands. In the long-scheme of things, this is a good thing. Not-so-fun jobs should be automated. Improving the quality of life for mankind is a good thing.
But, if you think your job can't be automated, think again. We have robots writing headlines and blog posts, self-writing their own programs, nailing roof tiles, and just about everything else (questionable or otherwise) in-between. That may sound really scary (and it is a little bit). The long-arc of these sorts of innovations will make create abundance with little effort, and will ultimately lead to a world where a majority the human-race are unemployable. I won't claim to know the solution to that problem, but is an unavoidable outcome (see below) we should debate and talk about more freely, because it's happening faster than you think.
I'm serious about the nail-gun wielding roofing-robot. It's really something to behold:
If you have 15 minutes and you're convinced your job can't be occupied by automation, I urge you to watch CGP Grey's film, Humans Need Not Apply. It's a gripping must-watch short.