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Agriculture: Why There’ll Always Be Farmers

Farming has been a major beneficiary of automation over the past century – but the best is yet to come. As the forecast to 2050 is for an explosion in global population, and that means the demand for food will be robust, we will experience a need for ever greater productivity in farming. Futurist Kit Worzel explores the issues that will allow farmers to continue to feed a rapidly growing global population, plus some of the potential pitfalls ahead, including:

- Automation in farming and farming robotics – There are already single-purpose farming robots available, such as automated tractors,, but they lack the versatility needed to maintain a farm. How will robotics evolve, and how and when should farmers look at investing in new equipment?

- Genetically Modified Organisms were launched with one of the world’s worst PR campaigns, with the result that today they are called “Franken-foods” What does the future hold for GMOs, and what role are they likely to play in tomorrow’s harvests?

- Better farming techniques – Beyond automation and GMOs, how else can farmers attain significant improvements in yields and potential profits? How will AI be used, and what other techniques could come into play?

- Climate change and tomorrow’s farm – We can all see that growing seasons are shifting, and extreme weather events are happening more frequently. Where will that lead, and how can the pro-active farmer prepare for what’s ahead?
– Farming alternatives – Food without farms, and steak without steers; will this happen? If so, how quickly, and how important is it to the traditional farmer?

“Even with all the advances coming from technology,” says Kit, “We’ll always need farmers.”

 

The Future of Health Care: Better Living Though Science.

Health care is a volatile issue, particularly in the face of the aging Baby Boomers. As people reach retirement age, health care costs increase dramatically, not just for the individual, but also for payers. A need for more secure health care will be essential, and futurist Kit Worzel examines the issues surrounding this, including:

-Early detection and diagnosis of disease - Science shows that catching a disease in its earliest stages dramatically improves survival. How can health care professionals do so?

-Point of care and Artificial Intelligence - Smart databases capable of collating medical data and history would save time and lives. But can computers replace expert triage nurses? And should they?

-Cloning organs and limbs would be of incredible benefit, but there are more than technical issues to overcome. Can the combination of science and law create a future where no-one need suffer from lack of a limb or organ?

 

Artificial Intelligence Will Run the World – and I’m OK with That.

Artificial intelligence and robotics have passed beyond the tipping point, and are now poised to inflict radical changes in many different aspects of our lives. As they become more capable of performing a wide variety of tasks, they pose a severe threat to jobs worldwide. Futurist Kit Worzel breaks down how this will happen:

-Automation has already led to the decline of manufacturing jobs in the developed world. What other jobs are in danger of being replaced?

-As computers become more powerful and capable, and software techniques grow more sophisticated, the capacity of artificial intelligence expands exponentially. Can even creative professions, usually seen as being outside of the purview of machines, resist this progress?

-If the job market continues to shrink, then the majority of the population will end up unemployed. What will happen if that is the case?

Green Energy Isn’t Enough

Clean, renewable energy is a concept that is talked of with great passion, and for good reason. Climate change and pollution are big problems, and having clean energy is seen as the solution to all our woes. Unfortunately, it’s only the start. Futurist Kit Worzel examines the further needs and consequences of a green future:

-Can we run the world on green energy? What will it take to switch over entirely from fossil fuels?

-Many sources of renewable energy are not considered reliable because the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow. Can solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy truly step up to replace coal, oil and nuclear? What might be the stumbling blocks – or opportunities?

-A fully green grid will only stop pollution, not fix it. What steps are necessary to fix the environment after we stop polluting it?

-Where do we go after solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal energy are all up and running? What’s next beyond existing forms of green energy?