Where will farmers go with technology in the decades ahead? ( MGN )
According to a new research report from RELX, parent company of Proagrica, artificial intelligence (AI) investments have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The third annual 2020 RELX Emerging Tech Study surveyed more than 1,000 senior executives across eight industries.
Specific to U.S. agriculture businesses, the study found:
- 74% currently use AI, down from 84% in 2019.
- 76% have upped their spend on AI technologies in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
- 87% believe that AI technologies played a role in slowing the spread of COVID-19
- 87% offer training on AI technologies, up from 81% in 2019
- 100% believe emerging technologies are having a positive impact on their industry (77% say very positively and 23% say somewhat positively), up from 97% in 2019
- 100% agree that emerging technologies are helping their business be more competitive (76% very much agree, 23% agree somewhat), up from 97% in 2019.
- 91% believe ethical considerations are a strategic priority in the design and implementation of their AI systems
“Our research shows that not only is ag investing more in AI than segments such as healthcare and government – it also rates ethical considerations more highly than both,” Anthony DeNome, Proagrica’s VP of sales for the Americas said in a news release. “There is a concern among ag respondents that other countries are becoming more advanced than the U.S. in the fields of AI development and implementation – some 83% of ag execs reported feeling this way, and we may have seen the number of ag businesses using AI fall slightly year-on-year.”
Of the eight sectors surveyed, insurance had the most respondents say they are increasing their investment in AI with 78% of insurance executives saying they are increasing investment in AI, and agriculture is second.
The top implementation of AI in agriculture is in human resources with 71% saying AI technologies are boosting the overall efficiency of the recruitment process. But AI is not yet replacing human labor in agriculture. The survey shows an average of 26% across all the industries using AI to replace human labor, and the responses from the agricultural industry average 21%.
“There’s a broad consensus across the sector that emerging technologies are helping the ag sector to be more competitive,” DeNome said. “AI is a case in point and we’re already seeing the benefits. This is a great start and the tech has the potential to do so much more in driving overall operational efficiencies, capabilities and pace.”