For the last 18 months, much of my time has been spent thinking about the role technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play in the future of the Australian and global food systems.
AI looks set to be the most transformative innovation of our lifetimes, and its impact far greater than we can ever imagine.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about high levels of AI and machine learning, the potential it has for the future of farming, and some of the lessons learned so far regarding the importance of facets like quality data collection and secure data sharing.
Since then, OpenAI released a free research preview of its latest offering, ChatGPT.
ChatGPT is an artificially intelligent chatbot (like Siri) with the ability to respond to questions and statements with near human-level conversational likeness.
So, I sat down and asked ChatGPT what it thinks about AI’s role in the future of agriculture. But first, introductions.
The opportunities sound great, and the theme of optimisation remains consistent with human expectations. But what about the limitations? Would AI be modest enough to recognise its own flaws?
And the dangers associated with moving to an AI-driven farming system?
Well, ChatGPT has been giving me comprehensive answers so far, so it was time to turn up the heat and test its ability to deliver informed decision-making insights:
Unsurprisingly given the closed historical nature of ChatGPT’s training data it was not (yet) able to tell me which annual crop will be best to plant in my hypothetical Wagga farm.
However, I was impressed it acknowledged its inability to respond specifically, going as far as suggesting I reach out to a local agricultural extension service instead.
It will be fascinating to monitor the evolution of ChatGPT and any other AI dialogue solutions that enter the market. One thing we can remain confident of though is that the Intelligence can only be as good as the data it has access to.
This means there is no time to take the foot off the gas in all other areas of agricultural innovation, and clearly, we will need to work together as humans in ensuring we remain optimistic yet vigilant on the road ahead towards an Artificially Intelligent future of farming.
About the author
Ashley Rootsey leads the AI & Robotics Pillar at Food Agility CRC and is a graduate of the University of Sydney's B. Food Science and Agribusiness (Hons) program. He’s passionate about combining modern innovation methods with the unique challenges and opportunities presented in Australian agrifood.