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Issue 03/2019

Robots, AI and big data pave way for smart farming

Using them will help meet more environmentally-friendly nutritional needs

The introduction of robots, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data in agriculture marks the fourth phase in modern farming, the so-called Agriculture 4.0. It follows the first one, which dates back to the introduction in Britain, in the early 18th century, of basic machinery using animal power to execute simple tasks, and the second phase, which started after tractors were first used around 1918, leading to the introduction of more powered machines. The current, third farming model, industrial agriculture, applied in many developed countries, is often based on monoculture relying on the wide use of machinery, phytosanitary products like herbicides, fertilizers and insecticides. Likewise, raising animals for meat or milk production is based on industrial methods.