Archive

Applying Algorithms to Minimize Risk

The United States plants more than 170 mil­lion acres of corn and soy­beans a year, more than any coun­try in the world. And the pri­ma­ry mech­a­nism in the US that we use to sub­si­dize agri­cul­ture is actu­al­ly called the Federal Crop Insurance Program. So, the crop insur­ance pro­gram in the US is also the largest such pro­gram glob­al­ly, with over $100 bil­lion in lia­bil­i­ties annu­al­ly. So it’s a very big pro­gram.

Imaging the Health of Our Planet

The inter­est­ing thing is not just fig­ur­ing out what one plant needs, but doing it on the scale of a mil­lion plants. This is where imag­ing can help. Capturing the detail, but from a dis­tance. Some farm­ers already used drones or oth­er air­craft to do just that. But the­se are not tools avail­able to all. I want to ask what if pre­ci­sion agri­cul­ture could be a ser­vice acces­si­ble to any­one on the plan­et?

The Conversation #27 — Patrick Crouch

My think­ing is how do we design sys­tems that provide for every aspect of our human­i­ty? How do we design a city that cares for all of our needs? You know it’s not just think­ing about shel­ter, but it’s think­ing about our food and our air and so, obvi­ous­ly the types of indus­try we have are very dif­fer­ent, because we have to make sure that our air and our water is clean. And that our food is read­i­ly avail­able, and that we have spaces for con­tem­pla­tion and reflec­tion. And that we have places for com­muning with each oth­er.

Where to From Here?

Although we haven’t reached peak sur­veil­lance, we’ve reached peak indif­fer­ence to sur­veil­lance. There will nev­er be anoth­er day in which few­er peo­ple give a shit about this because there’ll nev­er be a day in which few­er people’s lives have been ruined by this.

Agri-tech and the Arts: From Barns to D-Space

I’m going to be talk­ing about how the arts engage eth­i­cal­ly and polit­i­cal­ly with the tech­niza­tion of the food chain, the chain or flow of sus­te­nance from field to din­ner plate. This is an inter-disciplinary talk but don’t wor­ry, I won’t be claim­ing quite that poems and paint­ings are com­pu­ta­tion­al machi­nes for work­ing out social pol­i­cy, because that would be crazy. But if I’m not will­ful­ly mis­un­der­stand­ing Joscha’s excel­lent talk on the com­pu­ta­tion­al uni­verse, it seems that a like­ly can­di­date for the sub­strate of con­scious­ness is the numi­nal, the realm of ideas, and that’s pre­cise­ly where art and lit­er­a­ture lives. So it’s the ide­al place for deep pro­cess­ing of eth­i­cal issues, the big issues like food and tech.

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