This is Bowery Farming, a high-tech vertical farm startup, based in New York and backed by leading Silicon Valley investors. It’s a part of an emerging high-tech industry that’s reinventing agriculture, with a focus on greens such as lettuce, arugula, and kale. Proprietary software indicates when to harvest and the quantity of water and light needed for each crop, but humans are still needed to work the farm –for now.
With efficient methods, such as automation, seeding is done by machine and no longer by hand, and vertically stacked crops that save on space, make vertical farms ideal for a successful production year-round. All of these components reportedly make its operations 100-plus times more productive per square foot than traditional farms.
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While vertical farms are fruitful pesticide-free producers, this raises the concern if artificial intelligence also has the potential to completely eliminate human jobs, as we’ve seen in other sectors. “If a task doesn’t draw on human creativity or other human strengths like interpersonal skills, then it’s a candidate for automation,” said Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.