The Deereslayer

Self-driving cars? Brian J. says we’ll see self-plowing plows first:

[S]elf-directing machines are going to hit the farms first, where they can go along in their laser-and-GPS-guided finery to handle the time-consuming chores of farming with far less insurance liability concerns. Just imagine when this becomes mainstream, at least as mainstream as farming is, and automated farm machines can work day and night on ever larger farms. Great swaths of land will really become food farms, and it’ll squeeze out the family farmers most likely.

One question, however, remains unanswerable for now:

Will the prices go down for commodity foods (but remain high for the locovore organic artisan stuff), or will it put Google in charge of our food supply?

I suspect we’ll see continued demand for Federal price supports until Google actually takes over the government.



  1. fillyjonk »

    20 March 2014 · 9:34 am

    I really hope they hack-proof that system well. I could see someone deciding to screw up the US food supply, and that could have scary consequences.

    Frankly, I’m not a big fan of anything that squeezes out the family farmers.

  2. Brian J. »

    20 March 2014 · 10:11 am

    A lot of family farmers does build resiliency into the system; if there’s a mass consolidation and that company goes bankrupt, for instance, or sees a work stoppage of some sort amongst its few actual employees…

    “hack-proof that system.” Are you kidding? It will be all open source modules crafted by Russians, Bulgarians, and Chinese programmers cobbled together by a couple of high-priced consultants and pushed live to users expected to find the problems in the field as it were.

    And they’ll roll out fixes every couple of days, but the problems the software caused won’t be corrected in real life until the next growing season.

  3. Jeffro »

    21 March 2014 · 1:50 am

    At some of the really huge farms in the TX panhandle, the farmers are already running the tractors in automated mode. Once everything is set up properly, all you have to do is start it and it directs itself from then on, turning around to go back the same way, for instance, as well as stay on track. So they fire it up, send it on it’s way, jump off, and come back it it’s gonna need fuel or just to shut it off for the evening.

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