The Farm of the Near Future

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The morning sun began to creep gently over the east side of the corn field. The farm’s control system orchestrated a discussion between the weather sensors on the premises and the web services providing the daily forecast. It made the decision to turn on the irrigation for the full cycle today.

A small flock of geese settled into the soybean field looking for a meal. Their arrival was greeted with the shrill kree-arrrr call of a red tail hawk. The cry sounded again and it was clear the hawk was approaching. The geese burst from the ground in a panic as a small drone quadricopter flew into view and blarred one last hawk call from its speakers.

Back in the corn fields, a small rover robot made its morning rounds probing the soil and visually inspecting the crops. All data was sent back to the control system via its wifi connection. The rover stopped suddenly in its six-wheeled tracks and zoomed in on one particular cornstalk. It took several photos and sent the urgent message to the system along with the GPS coordinates of the problem.
Back at his desk, the farm assistant received the photo images. He recognized the problem as some type of blight but was not familiar with this particular strain. He called his supervisor who said she was not familiar with this blight either. She suggested they put in a call to have it analyzed by an expert.
An hour later, a small driverless car arrived at the farm. The trunk of the car opened and a bipedal robot emerged and walked towards the farmhouse. The supervisor and assistant led the robot to the infected corn. When they reached the site of the infected cornstalk, the robot focused the high-resolution cameras on the problematic area. A voice emitted from the robot’s speakers: “Yep, I know what this is and I know what you have to do…” The two farm employees took on smiles of relief.
Far away from this cornfield in Yankton, South Dakota, Bob sat in the small room of his house that served as his office. Using the program on his laptop computer, he maneuvered his mechanical avatar at the farm to take some more pictures of the cornstalks in this area. Bob accessed the farm’s control system and began reviewing relevant data. This assignment was typical for him. He knew a lot about raising corn. The circumstances of his life that moved him from Iowa to Yankton challenged him to find employment in his area of expertise, but that changed when he learned of the opportunity to utilize teleoperated robots to be his feet on the street…or in the fields as it were. Now he was quite busy, especially in this season, and living quite well. He was looking forward to opportunities to consult farmers in emerging markets across the world. He would be part of a group that would trial these services while employing language translation. In a short matter of time, Bob would deliver instructions to this farm and the blight that could have been catastrophic would be eradicated.
At edge of the cornfield several deer approached the crops for a free meal. The thunderous bark of a doberman instantly scattered them. Still barking, the drone quadricopter rose above the cornstalks and ensured the interlopers were driven far away.

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