ChatGPT is all over the news lately. If you missed it, ChatGPT is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) operated by OpenAI. ChatGPT is trained on data from various sources, including books, articles, websites, and other publicly available text type data. Users can ask ChatGTP questions in a search bar about nearly anything and ChatGPT responds based upon its training data. As ChatGPT is fed more training data, it gets smarter about how its answers questions.

ChatGPT promises to replace a lot of human tasks that involve creation of text, such as writing articles about specific subject matters. Teachers and professors appear to be the most immediately concerned about this technology, as ChatGPT could easily write, for example, a book report on Charles Dickens Tale of Two Cities. Students looking for someone else to write that essay now have it.

I’ve been wondering what this sort of technology means for agriculture.

So I decided I would ask ChatGPT and see what how it views its impact on farming. I asked ChatGPT, “What are the top five ways that ChatGPT will revolutionize agriculture in the US?” Here is how it responded (and within 5 seconds):

  • Predictive analytics: ChatGPT can be trained to analyze large amounts of data from various sources to inform crop and livestock management decisions. This can help farmers optimize their operations, increase yields, and reduce costs.

  • Crop and livestock monitoring: ChatGPT can be used to monitor crops and livestock using sensors and cameras. This can help farmers detect early signs of disease or stress, allowing them to take proactive measures to address the issue.

  • Automation of manual tasks: ChatGPT can be used to automate manual tasks such as planting, harvesting, and monitoring crop growth. This can help farmers save time and labor costs, and reduce the risk of human error.

  • Smart irrigation: ChatGPT can be used to optimize irrigation systems, for example by using weather data to predict when and how much water to apply to crops.

  • Precision agriculture: ChatGPT can be used to analyze data from various sources, such as weather reports, soil samples, and market prices, to inform precision agriculture techniques. This can help farmers make more informed decisions about planting, fertilization, and crop protection.

If you knew nothing about agriculture, you would think ChatGPT’s predictions were pretty amazing. These predictions come across as very authoritative and knowledgable. But peel back the veneer and you find a kind of a word salad that sounds impressive, but lacks much depth or meaning. Most of these five points are just regurgitating the same concepts—data analysis and prediction.

Overall, though, ChatGPT has a lot of promise and is a pretty amazing technology. It will only get better as it consumes more training data, and that includes agricultural data. In what ways do you think ChatGTP will change agriculture?


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Italicized text above was written by ChatGPT on January 24, 2023