Delta Farm Press Logo

AI has its place in agricultureAI has its place in agriculture

Farm Press Blog: Developments in artificial intelligence will help ag in multiple places.

Brent Murphree

May 16, 2023

3 Min Read
AI Graphic
ChatGPT says that AI can help with crop management, weather forecasting, market analysis, agricultural education, as well as research and development. Getty Images/iStockphoto

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated by artificial intelligence. It is an exciting time now to be on the edge of seeing truly autonomous AI managing the tasks it now performs.

We will see a paradigm shift as it takes hold, and we move into a new era of technology.

When ChatGPT was released in November 2022 I jumped into the abyss. It is just one of the language processing tools that allows users to have interactive conversations with AI. There are still lots of kinks to work out in language processing programs, but conversations with AI can be interesting.

I’m especially interested in how these tools can be used in agriculture. We already have systems that alert us to water needs, control steering and help with financial processes, but the AI tools are intended to alleviate many of the directional steps that we now perform.

As we wait for that time to come, conversational programs are taking root and may be worth exploring. I don’t know of a perfect program – AI cars are still crashing, and language tools are still spitting out gibberish.

ChatGPT’s developer OpenAI warns that the tool “sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.” They say to expect false negatives. They collect feedback to fine-tune the app.

At this point it’s not really a replacement tool for things like up-to-date news, it gets things wrong, and I’ve heard from some users that it actually lies about some things – kind of an “I didn’t say that” thing.

My first questions for the AI bot were about things I could verify. The apps are strikingly smart sounding, kind of like a chatty Alexa or Siri.

I have found errant dates and sketchy information that was gleaned from the same sources that yield weighted information or outright misinformation.

At this point it is not a good tool for market updates. In response to a question on cotton prices ChatGPT said, “I'm sorry, but as an AI language model, I don't have access to real-time market data or the ability to browse the internet. The price of cotton can fluctuate rapidly due to various factors such as global supply and demand, weather conditions, and trade policies, among others.”

When I asked how AI can be used in agriculture, it laid out that it would be useful for crop management, weather forecasting, market analysis, agricultural education, as well as research and development.

It certainly won’t take the place of in-field or face-to-face interviews.

As an aside, in March of this year, 1,125 people including Elon Musk and Apple's co-founder Steve Wozniak, signed a letter requesting a pause on training AI more powerful than what is currently available to the public.

The really hot topic has been, at what point does AI become sentient and is it a danger to mankind.

About the Author(s)

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like