The well-fed future of humanity

The well-fed future of humanity


In February, at the Think 2019 conference, IBM made a report entitled “5 in 5” about the technologies that will be most important for humanity in the next five years. All of them are related to the topic of food production and consumption.


Some products travel hundreds of thousands of kilometers to be on our plate. And this does not guarantee that they will be used usefully. In the USA alone, 150 thousand tons of food is thrown into the trash every day — up to 45% of all products. This is one of the problems associated with the task of feeding a growing humanity. Arvind Krishna (senior vice president, IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software Division) recalls that, according to the UN forecast, 8 billion people will live on Earth in 2025, and by 2050 this figure will reach the top ten — it will grow to 9.8 billion. Food production is affected by climate change and the shortage of fresh water in a number of regions. The UN reports that the problem of hunger has already been solved on a global scale, but the quality of food, its saturation with necessary nutrients is still a sore issue. Researchers are working on technologies to increase productivity and combat pathogens that reduce it, reduce the volume of senselessly destroyed products, clean the oceans of plastic, get rid of landfills. It is these problems that are discussed in the forecast “5 in 5” by IBM.


What you sow,..


The” digital double ” of a farm is a complete set of data on the state of the soil, air, the dynamics of climate change, the work of machines and personnel, crop volumes and product prices. Everything that can be measured becomes a parameter of this digital double. If you collect enough information and do it for several years in a row, then with the help of artificial intelligence algorithms, you can already predict the next harvests, plan the purchase of fertilizers, calculate the costs of personnel and equipment. A complete picture of the state of affairs at an agricultural enterprise will help its owner to get the necessary loan from the bank or to lease equipment.


…then you will reap,..


IBM is confident that the blockchain will help to avoid overproduction of food in developed countries due to the fact that every step in the logistics chain will be recorded. And each participant in this production process will know how many and what kind of goods need to be produced, where to send them in order to sell everything and not end up with a surplus. This will also ensure that there will be more recent products in the shopping baskets of customers, of completely understandable origin and quality.


…sell it…


Over the past 10 years, along with the cheaper genome sequencing technologies, there has been a revolution in understanding the world of microorganisms that live inside and outside the body, fly in the air and form colonies on food. The technology of mapping the microbiome (bacteria in the intestine) allows you to better understand how to protect food, how to store it for longer, how to convert products into more nutritious, saturated with nutrients to stimulate the growth of “good” bacteria in the body. & #13;


…and eat it.


Household sensors are already helping to monitor the air quality in ordinary homes. The next step is to use this technology to detect pathogens in the refrigerator, on hands, table and plate. Mobile sensors, which IBM researchers are working on, allow you to conduct such a test in just seconds: detect E. coli, salmonella or other pathogens before they enter the body, and not wait for the results of laboratory tests for several days after a person has been poisoned. This speed of pest detection will help avoid epidemics.

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Leftovers-in the trash


Developed countries are faced with the problem of recycling garbage, and especially plastic. Several large states that previously took care of the waste of richer regions are now refusing to do so. The machines that are currently used for the disposal of household waste cannot cope with plastic bags and other types of waste that could get into recycling and turn into material for the production of new products. IBM researchers say that in the next five years this problem will find a solution. Just as every stage of food production will be monitored, companies will begin to monitor the entire life cycle of food packaging. IBM is confident that all such products will be recycled and used for a second time. This will be possible thanks to developments in the field of catalytic chemical processes, such as VolCat and plastic preparation. New technologies will allow converting some types of plastics into a substance that will become a material for manufacturing new products.

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