Artificial intelligence could stop millions from going hungry by 2030

10 August 2021


intelligence

Research has found that using nanotechnology and artificial intelligence (AI) in agriculture could offer a practical solution to the challenges threatening global food security.

The study, carried out by researchers at the UK’s University of Birmingham, investigates how ‘precision agriculture’ would allow farmers to respond in real time to changes in crop growth using technology.

‘Precision agriculture’ refers to farming methods which measure and respond to variability in crops, allowing management of land with the goal of optimising efficiency and reducing waste.

In this case, AI and nanotechnology could be used to help both crops and soil perform better.

Climate change, increasing populations, competing demands on land for production of biofuels and declining soil quality have all made it more and more difficult to feed global citizens.

Challenges to global food security

The United Nations estimates that 840 million people will be affected by hunger by 2030. In response, researchers have developed a roadmap combining smart agriculture with AI and machine learning that could help to reduce this number.

Almost nine per cent of the planet’s population is currently hungry.

“Finding sustainable agricultural solutions to this problem requires us to take bold new approaches and integrate knowledge from diverse fields, such as materials science and informatics,” says study co-author, Iseult Lynch.

“Precision agriculture, using nanotechnology and artificial intelligence, offers exciting opportunities for sustainable food production. We can link existing models for nutrient cycling and crop productivity with nanoinformatics approaches to help both crops and soil perform better -safely, sustainably and responsibly.”

The main motivation for innovation in agricultural technology is the current need to feed the increasing global population with a decreasing area of land available for agricultural use, while conserving soil health and protecting environmental quality.