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Microsoft AI

Farmers In India Are Using AI To Increase Crop Yields (microsoft.com) 50

Reader joshtops shares an incredible story about how thousands of farmers in India are making use of AI and other technologies provided by Microsoft to ensure that they plow the field and sow the seeds at the right time. Prior to this, they were relying on their traditional instincts, which many of them say, had failed them in the recent years. From the story: The fields had been freshly plowed. The furrows ran straight and deep. Yet, thousands of farmers across Indian states of Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Karnataka waited to get a text message before they sowed the seeds. The SMS, which was delivered in Telugu and Kannada, their native languages, told them when to sow their groundnut crops. In a few dozen villages in Telengana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, farmers are receiving automated voice calls that tell them whether their cotton crops are at risk of a pest attack, based on weather conditions and crop stage. Meanwhile in Karnataka, the state government can get price forecasts for essential commodities such as tur (split red gram) three months in advance for planning for the Minimum Support Price (MSP). Welcome to digital agriculture, where technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Machine Learning, Satellite Imagery and advanced analytics are empowering small-holder farmers to increase their income through higher crop yield and greater price control. "Sowing date as such is very critical to ensure that farmers harvest a good crop. And if it fails, it results in loss as a lot of costs are incurred for seeds, as well as the fertilizer applications," says Dr. Suhas P. Wani, Director, Asia Region, of the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), a non-profit, non-political organization that conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa with a wide array of partners throughout the world. Microsoft in collaboration with ICRISAT, developed an AI Sowing App powered by Microsoft Cortana Intelligence Suite including Machine Learning and Power BI. The app sends sowing advisories to participating farmers on the optimal date to sow. The best part -- the farmers don't need to install any sensors in their fields or incur any capital expenditure. All they need is a feature phone capable of receiving text messages.
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Farmers In India Are Using AI To Increase Crop Yields

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  • It is now official (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @11:13AM (#55506305)

    The definition of 'AI' has been updated. It now stands for 'Algorithm Implementation'.

    • Mod parent up please.
      Absolutely correct - it seems any application that performs calculations taking into account various factors, is now termed Artificial Intelligence!

      It's just become a buzz word to attract business interests.

      It's like the various buzz words before it - cloud; iot; big-data; ajax; xml; etc.

    • Marketing successfully steals another word.
  • I am wondering what happens when the "AI" suggestion turns out worse than the regular gut feeling. Gut feeling most likely spread the sowing on slightly wider time so not everyone would have bad harvest on the same year. Now we can mostly win but at times terribly fail (in case everyone followed the suggestions which the summary does not imply).
  • by Zorro ( 15797 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @11:17AM (#55506351)

    It is Farm Report + Twitter.

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @11:23AM (#55506399)
    Indian farmers are at the mercy of a few politically connected families who control the commodity markets. Farmers can grow crops as efficiently as possible, but they still get robbed when the time comes to sell it.
    • Indian farmers are at the mercy of a few politically connected families who control the commodity markets.

      Which is why I would wonder that any Indian farmer would obey government instructions about when to plant described in an SMS.

      Who is determining when crops will be available on the market, and at what price . . . ? It seems to me that this "control" over the food supply could be very lucrative to some unsavory business and government folks.

  • How many pounds of this do you have to apply per acre? It smells just like the stuff we've always used.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    1. No mention of what this "AI" is supposed to be.
    2. Hint: It's not AI, since we don't havd any of that yet. I would be surprised if it even involved a NN at all.
    3. The farmers being forced to pay for seeds, instead of using seeda from last year's plants, since the crops they plant are deliberately made sterile.
    4. The crops reproducing anyway, and replacing all the natural versions of the species, so that you can't just use a naturally available species, as you'd get sued to death for patent/copyright/cocai

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )

      3. The farmers being forced to pay for seeds, instead of using seeda from last year's plants, since the crops they plant are deliberately made sterile.

      Every farmer will tell you the increased yield of hybrid seed far outweighs the cost.

  • "Annual agriculture is all about living through our concepts... our idea we've imposed on reality. And, when reality doesn't behave according to our idea, what do we do? We input... we can never input enough to make our false concept correct." @RestorationAgD http://bit.ly/1GnbtAA [bit.ly]
  • ...but I'm too tired to write one. Help me, someone ;-)

  • So basically we are calling any algorithm "AI" now. Cool.
  • There's a concept of "weak" AI and "strong" AI. Then there's the modern concept of "AI", which is fake AI. But it sells.

    I'm actually working on a blockchain-based strong AI system. I'm already seeing great results but I can't currently afford to scale. With a decent chunk of change I could have an adaptable, resilient, and distributed advanced AI system based on blockchain technology that would be suited to, fundamentally, any computational task.

    If anyone wants to invest, just let me know.

  • AI is bull shit.

  • Reader joshtops shares an incredible story about how thousands of farmers in India are making use of AI and other technologies provided by Microsoft to ensure that they plow the field and sow the seeds at the right time. Prior to this, they were relying on their traditional instincts, which many of them say, had failed them in the recent years. From the story:

    In the US, people are moving from using science and technology to relying on their traditional instincts, which are failing them in recent years.

  • They could have sprinkled In a few sensors and hit the IOT button as well.

  • So, in the past some farmers made mistakes and their crops failed. But others followed a different drummer and their crops did well. Through human history it has always been this way.

    Now however, when Cortana makes a mistake, the entire region suffers crop failure resulting in disaster.

    Dealing with so-called AI can be improved by a simple additional step. Instead of having it make statements or take actions based upon its internal logic, it should first outline in human readable form the data and steps it u

  • for Windows update to finish before getting their text messages.

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