Microsoft Bringing AI to Ag

December 5, 2018 09:52 AM
 
Microsoft views the planet as the ultimate operating system and information technology, in particular artificial intelligence, can help the company monitor, model and respond to the need to help feed the planet.

Standing before a crowd of farmers at the 2018 Farm Journal AgTech Expo, keynote speaker Josh Henretig voiced what he believed a lot of farmers were thinking.

“Why is someone from Microsoft, the company that brought you Windows Office and Xbox standing in front of you today?” asked Henretig, senior director, artificial intelligence (AI) for earth for Microsoft.

One of the answers, he said, is that Microsoft views the planet as the ultimate operating system and that information technology, in particular artificial intelligence, can help the company monitor, model and respond to the need to help feed the planet and address global health issues. He notes that Microsoft leaders see the company’s role in the process as “unchanged” from its core business model and can “provide the connective tissue to enable the technology ecosystem to tackle these challenges.”

The desire to provide that connective tissue is one of the reasons Microsoft established the AI for Earth Program, which was funded with $50 million and a 5-year commitment from Microsoft President Brad Smith in December 2017.

Three additional goals for the program are to 1) enable the company to anticipate and respond to climate-related issues, 2) support energy, carbon, water and waste projects that reduce the environmental impact of Microsoft’s operations, 3) and help establish Microsoft as a thought leader and innovator on key environmental issues.

In the process of talking about Microsoft’s goals, Henretig shared his perspective on how they will support farming today and in the future. Listen here for more details.

 

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Comments

 
Spell Check

Mike
Somewhere, SD
12/5/2018 11:32 AM
 

  Lets talk about how dangerous this technology is. When we are no longer the smartest thing on this planet, I guarantee it will not end well. There are should also be concerns of who has this technology and how much power this gives them; market manipulation, data gathering and so-on. We will become slaves to our own technology and slaves to the ones that control it. I heard the other day of how this will help us, how about lets talk about the "real" issues like how this technology will "control" us. This is a threat to the world as we know it and to the freedoms that we enjoy. WAKE UP!

 
 
Steve
Hazelwood, MO
12/6/2018 07:01 AM
 

  Mike, I think you are overreacting a bit. I believe that what is being proposed is "intelligence" that can help to guide human decisions, not AI that makes decisions and reactions without oversight. While it's true that some very intelligent people have warned about untethered AI, appropriate use can be very beneficial to mankind. In terms of environment, it may be that AI is the only way that humans are saved from our own mismanagement (ie Trump's lack of environmental foresight).

 
 
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