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Tracking the Future
Explore the most important technology and science trends! News, Analysis, Interviews, Presentations, Documentaries. All in one place at Tracking the future magazine
Curated by Szabolcs Kósa
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Agriculture Update: Heard of the Sahara Forest Project?

Agriculture Update: Heard of the Sahara Forest Project? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Conceived to turn the desert sands of the Sahara into productive agricultural land, the Sahara Forest Project, a Norwegian-based initiative, has recently completed a two-and-a-half year pilot project in Qatar to test the feasibility of the technology needed for the task.

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Steve Kingsley's curator insight, November 19, 2013 8:28 PM

They've been turning the desert back into fertile land in Israel since the 1930s....

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Agriculture, the New Game of Drones

Agriculture, the New Game of Drones | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Aerial drones are about to become an everyday part of our lives. This is an industry in its infancy and agriculture will be the launch point and proving ground for many others.
Farmers will become thousands of times more precise in how they apply chemicals and fertilizers, saving themselves millions in the process.
Saving farmers 1% on inputs like herbicide and pesticide, and increasing their yields by 1%, that alone is a multi-billion dollar industry.
In the end, the world will grow far more food, to far more exacting quality standards, under virtually any weather conditions. And drones will be an essential part of making this happen.

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Laurel Stelter's comment, October 2, 2013 12:15 PM
I think that the drones will also benefit farmers. They can get information from the drowns about their crops/land. I don't understand why people in Deer Trail, Colorado get a $100 reward if they shoot down a drone. That doesn't make sense to me. What if the drones were farmer's or not from another country? To summarize, I think the drones will be a huge advancement in farming.
Cassie Brannan's curator insight, October 24, 2014 10:23 AM

Saerial drones are beginning to be apart of farming. They will make it easier for the farmers to apply chemicals and fertilizers to their crops. By using the drop to help the farmers, the produce of food will increase. Therefore, there will be enough food for everyone in the world to eat.

morgan knight's curator insight, November 5, 2014 5:08 PM

It's astonishing to think that our agricultural business will be taken over by drones in a matter of years. And the range of options that they can be used for is incredible. They'll be able to do everything from pick out a spot to plant crops to actually planting the crops itself. 

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Development May Do Away With the Need For Fertilizers As Plants Made To Fix Own Nitrogen

Development May Do Away With the Need For Fertilizers As Plants Made To Fix Own Nitrogen | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

A major new synthetic biology technology has been developed by The University of Nottingham, which enables all of the world's crops to take nitrogen from the air rather than expensive and environmentally damaging fertilizers.

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Farm Forward

How will technology change farming in the future? The only certainty is that technology will continue to change how we farm. John Deere offers one vision on how farmers might control their operations in the future.

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From Science Fiction To Fact, Robots Are Coming To A Farm Near You

From Science Fiction To Fact, Robots Are Coming To A Farm Near You | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

In the Star Wars movies, moisture farmers on dry planets like Tattoine use droids to help with the repetitive, back-breaking labor, but that's in a galaxy far, far away. There's no doubt that robots are cool, but are robots on farms far off in our future?

Actually, the future is already here, with highly advanced milking machines on some dairy farms and a fully automated robot planting tractor set to hit the market this fall.

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World building 301: some projections

What is the world going to look like in 2032? And in 2092?

- by Charles Stross

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The limits of farming

The limits of farming | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

BY THE year 2050, Earth will be home to another 2 or 3 billion more people. The most vexing question is: How will we feed them all? Not only will there be more people, but everyone will have more money to spend on food. Where, on this ever more crowded planet, will we grow all of it?

By 2050, the world’s farmers will need to supply almost twice as much food as they do today, according to an analysis by the World Wildlife Fund. Put another way, we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as have in the last 8,000.

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Dutch PlantLab Revolutionizes Farming: No Sunlight, No Windows, Less Water, Better Food

Dutch PlantLab Revolutionizes Farming: No Sunlight, No Windows, Less Water, Better Food | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Dutch agricultural company PlantLab wants to change almost everything you know about growing plants. Instead of outdoors, they want farms to be in skyscrapers, warehouses, or underground using hydroponics or other forms of controlled environments. Instead of sunlight they use red and blue LEDs. Water? They need just 10% of the traditional requirements.

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Changing the Global Food Narrative

Changing the Global Food Narrative | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

There’s a powerful narrative being told about the world’s food system — in classrooms, boardrooms, foundations and the halls of government around the world. It’s everywhere. And it makes complete sense when you listen to it. The problem is, it’s mostly based on flawed assumptions.

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Synthetic Biology: Engineered Plants Create Their Own Fertilizer

Synthetic Biology: Engineered Plants Create Their Own Fertilizer | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Since man discovered agriculture, farmers have used ingenious ways to pump more nitrogen into crop fields; farmers have planted legumes and plowed the entire crop under, strewn night soil or manure on the fields, shipped in bat dung from islands in the Pacific or saltpeter from Chilean mines and plowed in glistening granules of synthetic fertilizer made in chemical plants. 
A new Washington University in St. Louis project seeks to miniaturize, automate and relocate the chemical apparatus for nitrogen fixation within the plant so nitrogen is available when and where it is needed — and only then and there.
“That would really revolutionize agriculture,” said Himadri Pakrasi, PhD, the Myron and Sonya Glassberg/Albert and Blanche Greensfelder Distinguished University Professor, in Arts&Sciences, and director of the International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability (I-CARES) at Washington University in St. Louis.

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The Vertical Farm: A Keystone Concept for the the Ecocity

Dr. Dickson Despommier was born in New Orleans in 1940, and grew up in California before moving to the New York area, where he now lives and works. He has a PhD in microbiology from the University of Notre Dame. For 27 years, he has conducted laboratory-based biomedical research at Columbia University with NIH-sponsored support. He is now an emeritus professor at Columbia University and adjunct professor at Fordham University.
At present, Dr. Despommier is engaged in a project with the mission to produce significant amounts of food crops in tall buildings situated in densely populated urban centers. This initiative has grown in acceptance over the last few years to the point of stimulating planners and developers around the world to incorporate them into their vision for the future city. To date, there are vertical farms up and running in Japan, Korea, Singapore, Seattle, and Chicago, with many more in the planning stage. It is his hope that vertical farming will become commonplace throughout the built environment on a global scale.

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Accelerated returns in food production

Accelerated returns in food production | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Ray Kurzweil’s “law of accelerating returns” is a very viable economic theory that can be used to address many of the issues that economists are facing in our times, but unfortunately most university departments of economics pay very little attention to it, whereas the old economic theories are not able to answer issues that global economy has been facing since the inception of computer revolution of the last thirty years.

In fact, when the global economy is struggling with issues such as chronic unemployment and the traditional economists are consulted about it, their answers are repeating the same solutions that have failed over and over again, whereas Kurzweil’s theory opens a new way of thinking to fix the economy.

It may be a good idea to address specific issues from the angle of the law of accelerated returns and ask economists to respond and start a dialogue on this new futurist approach of Kurzweil to seek solutions for the problems facing humanity in our times. Challenges of food production in the global economy, at the time when some countries in Africa are facing famine year after year, show the need for a new understanding to help us to come up with working solutions.

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The future of food

The future of food | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

How can we feed the 2.5 billion more people – an extra China and India – likely to be alive in 2050? The UN says we will have to nearly double our food production and governments say we should adopt new technologies and avoid waste, but however you cut it, there are already one billion chronically hungry people, there's little more virgin land to open up, climate change will only make farming harder to grow food in most places, the oceans are overfished, and much of the world faces growing water shortages.

Fifty years ago, when the world's population was around half what it is now, the answer to looming famines was "the green revolution" – a massive increase in the use of hybrid seeds and chemical fertilisers. It worked, but at a great ecological price. We grow nearly twice as much food as we did just a generation ago, but we use three times as much water from rivers and underground supplies.

Food, farm and water technologists will have to find new ways to grow more crops in places that until now were hard or impossible to farm. It may need a total rethink over how we use land and water. So enter a new generation of radical farmers, novel foods and bright ideas.

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The Next 50 Years: Why I'm Optimistic Because Everything Will Be Terrible

The Next 50 Years: Why I'm Optimistic Because Everything Will Be Terrible | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

With everything rolling towards the abyss, our only hope for a bright future seems to be the Singularity, a technological transformation of what it means to be human.

But in a talk for TEDx Brussels, science fiction and horror writer John Shirley argues that there are really two Singularities — and yes, everything will be terrible in the short term. So why is he optimistic about the future of the human race? Read on.

You can watch the presentation on Youtube: http://youtu.be/dtpX_9E__hU

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Down on the Farm, Will Robots Replace Immigrant Labor?

Down on the Farm, Will Robots Replace Immigrant Labor? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

You'd think that the most challenging, lowest-paid labor in the U.S. was safe from automation, but as robots become increasingly sophisticated, that could change.

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