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Exploring the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Agriculture

Key Takeaways from the 2023 Buddy Seat Conference

 

“What if the technology is there to do the things we once thought impossible?”

That is the question that Bushel Director of Engineering Nathan Joraanstad posed during the 2023 Buddy Seat Conference in a presentation on how artificial intelligence (AI) will impact agriculture and agribusinesses. 

The Growing Influence of Text and Image-Related AI Models

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a broad field of computer science aimed at creating machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. These tasks include learning, reasoning, problem-solving, perception, and language understanding. AI is an umbrella term that encompasses various technologies and methods, including machine learning, neural networks, deep learning, and natural language processing.

Today most notably, the text and image-related AI models are the focus of large interest in how AI will impact work moving forward.

  • Text-Related AI: These systems understand, interpret, and generate human language through Natural Language Processing (NLP). Tools like ChatGPT, Microsoft CoPilot, and Google Bard exemplify this. They perform tasks such as text classification, machine translation, sentiment analysis, and question-answering. They’re instrumental in chatbots, language translation services, and information extraction tools.
  • Image-Related AI: This AI branch specializes in visual information processing and interpretation. It uses computer vision, image recognition, and generative adversarial networks (GANs) to identify and categorize objects in images, generate new images, enhance photo quality, and create realistic animations. 
Image generated using OpenAI’s Dall•E

Practical AI Applications in Agribusiness

Joraanstad demonstrated the application of OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Dall•E in agribusiness scenarios, showcasing how these tools can streamline business processes for farmers and agribusiness professionals.

Some ideas Joraanstad shared in the presentation included: 

  • Drafting push notifications and other marketing content 
  • Summarizing reports like USDA market analyses
  • Generating ideas for recruitment, grain origination, and ag retail business development strategies
  • Creating spreadsheet formulas and scripts 

To get the best results from AI tools, it’s important to learn how to ask the right questions and give clear, concise directions. The best way to develop these skills is simply through experimenting and trying out these emerging technologies. 

“Ultimately, give it your best challenges and see what it comes up with,” Joraanstad said. 

A Word of Caution

While excited about AI’s potential, Joraanstad cautioned against sharing confidential information with AI tools, noting the risk of unintended data exposure. Additionally, he recommended that users always check and verify the information that AI is providing, as it can provide incorrect or misleading information at times. 

The Future of AI in Agriculture

Joraanstad firmly believes the opportunities largely outweigh the risks when it comes to adopting AI-based tools. With its ability to process vast amounts of data, AI will assist in understanding complex patterns and trends in agriculture, like tracking grain deliveries and analyzing user engagement. Some examples Joraanstad provided were: 

  • How many loads were delivered to a specific location last year?
  • How much contracted corn has yet to be delivered?
  • How many users logged into an app or website last week?
  • How many offers would fill if I narrow the basis by X amount?
  • What farmers do I do the most business with who haven’t logged into the app?
  • Which farmers hauled less grain last year than the previous year?

“We believe the technology that could transform the way we do everything has arrived. Let’s work together to harness this technology for the benefit of ag,” Joraanstad said.

 

Watch the full presentation from the 2023 Buddy Seat Conference.

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