The Van Trump Report

Agriculture Continues Rapid Adoption of Artificial Intelligence

Agriculture businesses are increasing their investments in artificial intelligence (AI) to a greater degree than any other industry aside from insurance, even as a majority say they are concerned that other countries are becoming more advanced than the U.S. in the fields of AI development and implementation. That’s according to the third annual RELX Emerging Tech Study that provides an overview of AI adoption across eight industries – government, healthcare, insurance, legal, science/medical, banking, and agriculture.

RELX’s 2020 survey showed that across industries, 81% of executives surveyed are already utilizing AI. Interestingly enough, the metric fell for ag from 84% last year to 74%, the only industry to witness a decline. Unfortunately, agriculture wasn’t considered in the 2018 survey so the snapshot is less complete than for the other industries. It’s no less interesting, though, and provides some insights into how companies are trying to maximize their competitive edge as the pandemic presents new challenges.  

Across most industries, AI is being used primarily to increase efficiencies and worker productivity rather than to replace human labor, with 79% of ag executives citing efficiency and 21% labor. Those are the lowest percentages across industries. However, ag outpaced them all in the education department, with 87% saying their companies offered training on AI technologies. Ag also led in this area last year.  

Also noteworthy, the survey revealed that 68% of executives overall say the pandemic has led to greater business investment in AI with +76% in agriculture reporting an increase. The full survey can be found HERE. Below are some of the other ag-specific insights:

  • 100% of agricultural executives surveyed 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.
  • 87% of agricultural respondents believe that AI technologies played a role in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Most agricultural executives say that the pandemic has had an impact on how AI technologies and resources are managed, including 88% who believe countries should share technologies and resources (versus 6% who think they should not).
  • 60% of executives working in the agricultural industry report AI technologies are most likely to impact hiring by increasing the fairness of the application/interview phase and 71% say AI technologies are boosting the overall efficiency of the hiring process.  
  • 64% of agricultural executives state that the US government should develop programs to help employees stay competitive as AI technologies become more integrated in the business world.
  • 83% of agricultural executives say they are concerned about other countries being more advanced than the US in artificial intelligence technology development and implementation (50% very concerned, 33% somewhat concerned), up from 82% in 2019.

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