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.
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