Artificial intelligence will majorly disrupt the entire economy in as little as three years’ time, if some of the experts are to be believed.
The amazing but somewhat scary technology, we are told, will change society as we know it. Civil unrest is not beyond the realm of possibility as jobs are rapidly replaced by intelligent machines, according to the prognosticators.
Laptop class, lookout. Remember how ‘learn to code’ became a cliche job opportunity?
Emad Mostaque, founder of a headline-making A.I. company, recently told a popular podcast that these computer coding jobs will cease to exist in five years. A.I. will take over writing not just computer programs, but creative writing in general, and for that matter, the production of images and movies. In the not too distant future, he says, a machine will be able to quickly conjure up a Hollywood quality film made just for you, the viewer, after you type in a story idea at a computer prompt. It sounds like the death knell for tinseltown
Already, even rural doctors are making use of an A.I. listening tool (with the patient’s consent) that instantly summarizes their latest verbal consultation into an exceptionally accurate 300 word report for the patient’s medical file. No more does the physician need to produce the report from his or her own frazzled memory during a busy day at the practice. It’s as if a disembodied stenographer is right there in the examination room. (I’ve seen the system up close during my own consult, in Casselman, of all places.)
What does this mean for agriculture? The change will be no less profound on the farm. You can already ask an online A.I. agronomnist if there are elevated risks for any crops this year in Eastern Ontario and you will get an incredibly reliable and insightful answer within seconds. Have we entered the final days of human agronomists, feed nutritionists and veterinarians offering advice? What happens when farm robots actually become intelligent enough to play a role in farm management by themselves?
According to a new Ipsos survey of adults in 31 countries, one in three workers expects A.I. to eliminate their job. Majorities in all surveyed countries expect A.I. to profoundly change their daily life. All we can say is that, at the very least, a farm should be a very good place to be when major disruption looms on the very near horizon.
Nelson Zandbergen can be reached at Nelson@farmersforum.com.