Skip to comments.Robots to Revolutionize Farming and Ease Labor Woes (Will this solve illegal immigration problem?)
Posted on 07/31/2013 7:20:13 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
SALINAS, Calif. (AP) On a windy morning in Californias Salinas Valley, a tractor pulled a wheeled, metal contraption over rows of budding iceberg lettuce plants. Engineers from Silicon Valley tinkered with the software on a laptop to ensure the machine was eliminating the right leafy buds.
The engineers were testing the Lettuce Bot, a machine that can thin a field of lettuce in the time it takes about 20 workers to do the job by hand.
The thinner is part of a new generation of machines that target the last frontier of agricultural mechanization fruits and vegetables destined for the fresh market, not processing, which have thus far resisted mechanization because theyre sensitive to bruising.
Researchers are now designing robots for these most delicate crops by integrating advanced sensors, powerful computing, electronics, computer vision, robotic hardware and algorithms, as well as networking and high precision GPS localization technologies. Most ag robots wont be commercially available for at least a few years.
In this region known as Americas Salad Bowl, where for a century fruits and vegetables have been planted, thinned and harvested by an army of migrant workers, the machines could prove revolutionary.
Farmers say farm robots could provide relief from recent labor shortages, lessen the unknowns of immigration reform, even reduce costs, increase quality and yield a more consistent product.
There arent enough workers to take the available jobs, so the robots can come and alleviate some of that problem, said Ron Yokota, a farming operations manager at Tanimura & Antle, the Salinas-based fresh produce company that owns the field where the Lettuce Bot was being tested.
(Excerpt) Read more at techland.time.com ...
Mike Shedlock of Townhall makes the following predictions in light of this news:
1. Technology will improve much faster than currently estimated.
2. By the time Congress addresses the illegal immigrant problem, the nature of the problem will have radically changed
Not unless the robots pay Social Security taxes.
Went to an airshow that had this pizza machine. You put in five dollars, choose your toppings and watched as it put it together, baked it and set it on a paper plate. Amazing. Nobody there to do anything.
Over the last 60 years there have been working mechanical pickers and processors developed that could pretty efficiently do the job with only a small number of workers to handle the machines. Chavez and his union pretty much pushed most of these out of consideration in order to keep his union pickers employed.
RE: Went to an airshow that had this pizza machine.
How does the pizza taste compared to the one’s cooked and prepared by humans?
Now if that lettuce can be picked by machines, we won’t be in danger of dying of e-coli because of human feces on our salad. The sooner we get migrants out of the fields where food is grown the better.
Are you saying that the workers take a dump on the lettuce? I always thought that was from fertilizer.
Something of primary importance, which I almost never hear anyone talking about —
If automation and/or cheap labor from overseas causes some ridiculous amout of US unemployment — consider 50% unemployment rate: never had a job, have no skills, totally unemployable in the 21st century — what can society do with such large number of people who have nothing to do accept pick up their food allotment at the government food pantry?
We’re basically heading toward a post-scarcity society — food brought to us through machines, and shale oil gives us lots of energy. Then what? What is the purpose of the human population?
In the past, the rich folks at the top had lots of leisure to hunt, throw dinner parties or travel. But no society has ever had a huge worker class with nothing to do with their time.
Lots of leisure could lead to a cultural golden age, but I think it is more likely to create instability.
funny looking califlower
RE: Then what? What is the purpose of the human population?
Why can’t people be re-trained to program and maintain these robots?
Actually it wasn’t bad. Same ingredients but all put together by machine. There were windows so you could track how it was being put together. From the sauce to toppings being added. They were individual sized, about six inches in size.
"Greetings, carbon-based lifeform. Now git off mah land!"
Not necessarily right on the lettuce, but in the fields, absolutely. It’s too far to the port-a-potty, and at least part of their pay is piecework.
In all seriousness, the solution is to quietly eliminate part of the population via the rationing processes of socialized medicine.
Because no private corporation wants to spend a GD dime on training for any reason.
Have you ever seen portapotties out there?
Carl's Jr. Computer: Enjoy your EXTRA BIG ASS FRIES!
Woman at Carl's Jr.: You didn't give me no fries, I got an empty box.
Carl's Jr. Computer: Would you like another EXTRA BIG ASS FRIES?
Woman at Carl's Jr.: I said I didn't get any!
Carl's Jr. Computer: Thank you! Your account has been charged. Your balance is zero. Please come back when you can afford to make a purchase.
Woman at Carl's Jr.: What? Oh no, NO!
[She hits the machine. An alarm goes off, and a sign appears on the computer saying "WARNING! Carl's Jr. Frowns Upon Vandalism"] Carl's Jr. Computer: I'm sorry you're having trouble. I'm sorry you're having trouble.
Woman at Carl's Jr.: Come on! My kids are starvin'!
Carl's Jr. Computer: [the woman kicks the computer, and it sprays a fast-acting tranquilizer in her face] This should help you calm down. Please come back when you can afford to make a purchase. Your kids are starving. Carl's Jr. believes no child should go hungry. You are an unfit mother. Your children will be placed in the custody of Carl's Jr. Carl's Jr... "--- You, I'm Eating."
[Joe approaches the computer]
Carl's Jr. Computer: Welcome to Carl's Jr. Would you like to try our EXTRA BIG ASS TACO? Now with more MOLECULES!
What was that saying about “Idle hands”?
I think we have some real-life examples of that scenario right now. Think Detroit.
Machine harvest of tomatoes is a good example of the future. Machines pick all the tomatoes at once and sensors tell which ones are red enough to keep, all others are rejected and plowed under again.
While there’s a considerable waste the increased productivity more than pays for it. Likewise for tree crops like walnuts which only require one man on a tractor to pick a whole tree in a few minutes.
I've probably read too much dystopian science fiction but, yeah, that's where I see us going. Between Obamacare and UN Agenda 21, I can see a US population of (maybe) 50 million, set up in 50 densely populated urban centers. The leaders live high up in the skyscrapers. The proles live in the lower levels. The countryside is empty and resource extraction is handled by machinery. Society is rigidly controlled, and age or illness becomes a real death sentence.
Many movies have been made on these topics. I see us getting there within my childrens' lifetime.
The machines will get smarter. Even smarter than most humans someday. Then the machines will realize that WE, with our human nature, are a problem to the future of civilization. Then the fun starts...
By that time machines will likely be composed of engineered semi-biological tissue. Self-replicating Robots with something resembling skin, bone and a brain as complex as ours. They may even conquer us and colonize the entire galaxy. We would be their “creator”. Wouldn't that be something...
The Butlerian Jihad is an event in the back-story of Frank Herbert's fictional Dune universe. Occurring over 10,000 years before the events chronicled in his 1965 novel Dune, this jihad leads to the outlawing of certain technologies, primarily "thinking machines", a collective term for computers and artificial intelligence of any kind. This prohibition is a key influence on the nature of Herbert's fictional setting.
Herbert may have coined the name from 19th-century author Samuel Butler, who has the citizens of Erewhon enact a prohibition on machines newer than 270 years fearing that "it was the race of the intelligent machines and not the race of men which would be the next step in evolution."
As Terry Anderson used to say, LA is crawling with illegals, but there’s no strawberry field anywhere around. This won’t solve the illegal immigration problem, but I still welcome it because the illegals now picking the crops don’t know or care anything about sanitation or hygiene, and they are making us sick.
Several good articles today. This one touches on a topic we haven't seen discussed on FR in a very long time...HJ
That's worth the price of innovation right there.
But it's happening elsewhere - Washington state, for example - and will bury them in the end.
In the end, it has no bearing on the real problem: only 2% of illegals are in agriculture anymore. Leastways that's whut I read....
PS: Was in Mexico City the other day for biz. Saw lots of employed people downtown!
Not a single white Anglo-Saxon Protestant in those jobs though, and especially no black people (Mexico is notoriously racist).
Robots doing the jobs illegal aliens won’t do...
If robots can replace humans entirely or to a degree increased productivity might well offset increased wastage. In any event fewer workers are going to be needed and a degree from Migrant University just won’t be enough anymore.
No, since "cheap labor" is of secondary concern. The "cheap labor, subsidized by the taxpayer, is used to bribe GOP business types into going along with open borders. The illegal immigrants are reallyhere to replace the White Christian Middle class that demands liberty, prosperity, and firearms with a servant class of peons like that of any other banana republic.
This is the socio-economic problem of the 21st century which is how to evolve beyond the labor=money equation which has governed life since the industrial revolution. Anyone who things their job is "secure" is fooling themselves. By the mid 21st century 90% or more of today's jobs simply will not exist because they will be automated out of existence.
I would think that if it uses the same ingredients it should taste the same. What does a human do to it that might be different...other than spitting on it?
Very interesting stuff at that link.
It will not solve our issues of illegal immigration, our politicians will encourage them to come here for the hand-outs. Jobs or not the liberals need them for their votes.
They go in the field, but even those that use the porta potty- there are usually no facilities to wash up and then they handle our food with those hands.
Why would this solve it? Might help; but think; not much. There are still; the ‘benefits’; benefits. . .benefits. Just no sending checks home. . .
Judge Dredd happens. Or maybe Star Trek. But I’m thinking Judge Dredd. We like to think that if a large percentage of the population suddenly became “unnecessary” for the survival of the society they’d all do creative and inventive things, but they probably just wind up doing drunken and stupid things.
Some could, but the point of automation is that it’s a force multiplier. You replace 20 people with 1 robot maintained by 1 or 2 people. And of course as predictive algorithms get better and we’re already getting machines that can announce when they’re going to break, and then you can automatically dispatch machines to fix the machines even those 1 or 2 might not be necessary anymore.
The citrus industry has had automation called tree shakers available for decades. They don't use them because of the availability of slave labor.
That must be the $50 lettuce Juan McCain was talking about.
The 3-D Printer concept has matured and now works with nanotechnology. What that means is that core atoms can be used to construct anything you want. Your food. Your clothing. Your inflatable mattress. Push the buttons and "the feed" accesses the resources and builds what you need.
But this does not mean everyone is rich. Stephenson doesn't spell out the nuances of the social stratficiations, but people now belong to tribes or "phyles". Some phyles are large, global, and rich. One of these rich phyles is the Atlantean phyle which combines American and Victorian sensibilities. Very proper and polished and old-fashioned -- and they control much of the cutting edge technology due to their work ethic and self-discipline. There are many phyles, some better than others.
Below that, there are the "thetes" who are basically proles. Yeah, they can push buttons and get "stuff" but they have no other existence. They pretty much make up the criminal class because they have no hope and nothing to do.
There is one phyle which is sort of based on the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century. They make paper by hand, carve furniture and shoe horses. They are artisans and servants of the Atlantean/Victorian phyle. It is mentioned at one point that with nanotechnology available, making paper by hand is a little silly. It is also mentioned that the Arts and Crafts emphasis is only sustainable because the rich, high tech Atlanteans find hand-crafted items to be quaint and pleasant. These observations are "shushed" as rude or impolitic.
The book is probably 20 years old now, but it discusses drones (lots of these), 3-D printing, modern tribal cultures, feral populations, and a world which is spinning out of control. We're heading there.
why would a low information voter give up a couch and welfare check for work?
There is no incentive since they have no morality of duty or right and wrong.
They are just an extention of the pot soaked stinky mud drenched hippies of woodstock wait for the adults to bring them food and water.