Free Enterprise

How Drones, AI, and Chatty Plants Can Help Feed the Planet

In the face of much societal fear and scrutiny over emerging technologies like AI, let’s highlight a few technological advances that could change the way we do something that humans have been engaging in for thousands of years: farming.

Two professors at USU Eastern in Price have been showing off how their drones can use heat signatures to identify plants that are in need of water or fertilizer. AI is an important part of making these drones work to provide critical data to farmers about their crops. The technology can go even further to supply information about livestock and other agricultural needs.

Similarly in the world of science, Japanese researchers have been trying to gain a deeper understanding of how plants communicate with each other. By studying the chemicals that they use to “talk” to each other and even warn each other of danger, we can better understand how to help crops become more resistant to events like droughts.

These types of innovations have the potential to help millions of people, especially in harsh areas where people struggle to survive.

Oftentimes our negative gut reaction to innovations like AI or genetically modifying crops can lead us to reject new ideas that could improve the human condition.

I’m not saying we should throw caution to the wind with new and innovative technologies. But we also shouldn’t be too aggressive with our regulations. We need a happy in-between.

We do not need to fear free enterprise. Such fear often leads to harsh regulation and government involvement, which crushes these ideas before they can bear fruit.