Smart but ....

Smart phone, smart apps and a winding list of numerous other smart developments continue to hit the market and make our lives sometimes easier and other times busier – think about WhatsApp.It is intriguing to find out what makes these objects smart.

Artificial intelligence, which is (in daily normal language) when a machine such as a computer learns something and combines it with data so as to recognise a pattern in a process, object or even a person (be very afraid) and in so doing can predict future actions or outcomes, solve problems or accomplish tasks. This artificial intelligence is what is behind the ‘smart’ things that you hear about or see on the market.

The advancement in artificial intelligence is phenomenal in many areas.  One is the smartphone. When you are typing a word, as soon as you insert the first two or three letters, the word will complete itself – successfully ruining our brain’s ability to spell and write words; woe to English teachers. How? The computer in your phone has been programmed to recognise and predictwhat letter combinations make up which words. That is just one obvious example of how artificial intelligence works.

Advanced farming techniques are other amazing areas. A system of sensors is dispersed in different locations on a vegetable farm. The sensors very accurately monitor the growth in terms of nutrients, size, shape and colour of all these plants until they are ripe and ready for harvest. They continue to retrieve and store the data for future planting and harvesting. That way, the yields are precisely the same and the good practices can continue to be done and even better, improve. Where does that leave the farmer who is still using a hoe and his or her eyes to estimate, as well as previous experience to plant their crops?

Using artificial intelligence still, these same computer programmes have been set to see the vegetables through the eyes of the consumer;so in short, they can tell if you will like the potatoes or not. And if you are unlikely to pick it off the shelf, they will sort it out and put it in the animal section or for those fruits or vegetables reserved for juicing.

If your tractor or farm machine is even thinking of breaking down, artificial intelligence will detect it before; show you where it is likely to break down so you can then fix it as soon as possible.  What does that mean for the job market in the near future? 


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