Data, artificial intelligence, and robots: what does disruption look like in agriculture?

The term “disrupter” is thrown around a lot. The term is often overused and misused, but it can kick off an exciting conversation when you have someone who actually understands the concept.

That is just what happened when Marty Seymour, director, FCC industry and stakeholder relations joined host Shaun Haney at the RealAg Radio booth during the Public Trust Summit held recently at Gatineau, Quebec.

Seymour has spent a lot of time with disrupters and wannabe disrupters as part of his job. It has given him a lot of new insights. “As I have started to do research on what the future of our industry looks like when it comes to data and artificial intelligence and robots, its expanded my mind about the possibilities.”

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One of the real difficulties with disruptive technologies is that almost by definition you do not know they are disruptive until after the disruption has happened. Still, you have to be aware of what’s going on in your industry and Seymour points to some things he is paying attention to. “I do not know if I can identify “The Thing” that’s being disrupted but I can sense a conversation that is getting louder in agriculture and that’s around data and the interpretation of data.”

Seymour says there is a missing component that is almost too obvious. People think agriculture is simple and that they understand it —  it isn’t and they don’t. “The reality is that a lot of the gap between their understanding of production agriculture and applying their technology is wide, so I’ve also been banging around this idea of how do we recruit more people to work in this industry who have agriculture knowledge who can take data and artificial intelligence and apply that at the farm gate?”

One thing is clear: disruption has always been with us and it will be with us into the future, so we need to keep having conversations about what disruption is going to mean to agriculture.

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