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Robotics Technology

MIT and the Constant Robotic Gardeners 101

Singularity Hub writes "MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is pioneering the field of automated farming. During a semester-long experiment, CSAIL's researchers created a laboratory farm: tomato plants in terra cotta pots with artificial turf for grass. The goal of the experiment: to see if these tomatoes could be grown, tended, and harvested by robot caretakers."
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MIT and the Constant Robotic Gardeners

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  • Growing "tomatoes" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mal-2 ( 675116 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @06:04PM (#27591791) Homepage Journal

    You know, most people who go to the garden supply store and claim to be growing "tomatoes" are actually growing a completely different kind of consumable. Could this lead to fully automated pot farms?


  • Whereas in India... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Warlord88 ( 1065794 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @06:29PM (#27592047)
    Might be slightly off-topic, but cannot help pointing out. With general elections in India round the corner, Mulayam Singh Yadav, the leader of a prominent political party calls for elimination of Computers and English. http://elections.ndtv.com/news_story.aspx?ID=NEWEN20090090458& [ndtv.com]: "The use of computers in offices is creating unemployment problems. Our party feels that if work can be done by a person using hands there is no need to deploy machines." And we are supposed to compete economically along with US, EU and China.
  • by Quothz ( 683368 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @07:35PM (#27592611) Journal

    Might be slightly off-topic, but cannot help pointing out.... "The use of computers in offices is creating unemployment problems."

    Not really off-topic at all. It's a valid concern that large-scale automation of labor can displace part of the workforce. For example, automation in the office contributed to massive layoffs in the 1980s.

    Historically, the economy has adjusted well to automation. In some cases, the expansion of other industries and creation of new ones has taken care of the problem. In many parts of the world, people have gained increased leisure to squeeze the workforce into fewer slots.

    The philosopher and novelist Robert Wilson considered giving people a direct economic interest in automation. Others propose purely communistic solutions. A few, like Yadav there, want to just halt the clock and hope for the best.

    My opinions aren't fully formed, although I unquestionably favor automation of labor wherever possible. Given the historical context of automation, I don't think we need to panic just yet, but our societies should be considering the ramifications.

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