German economist Thomas Daum has published research that explores how farming robots could lead the industry towards an environmentally friendly and abundant utopia, or a dystopia of heavy machinery and low-quality harvests

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

So far it’s been an environmentally friendly and abundant utopia if robotic farming in Netherlands is anything to go by.


Does anyone worry about where the automation of labor will lead with our current economic model of a small number of entities owning most of the economy? Like if all labor gets fully automated and a minority of wealthy entities own everything what do they need to keep the rest of us around for? It would be nice if everyone got a guaranteed minimum income and goods were made cheap and abundant through automation. But wouldn’t that make the people/entities that do actually own everything see the rest of us as just a drain on their resources? Sort of like a cost that has to be paid but doesn’t provide any benefit? What happens when the people who own everything decide to reduce this cost in order to increase their wealth? Isn’t anyone concerned that giving a small group of very powerful entities an incentive to get rid of the rest of the population might end badly?…


Balance needed just adding more high tech that benefits some in certain situations is not what a significant part of population or planet needs. Cities, Developed areas, Farming from industrial scale to extremely productive intensive mixed sustainable small scale are for different purposes, with different levels of investment labor resource requirements. Billions of people can live quite well living with sustainable appropriate technologies development if economy finance government centralized incentives for a few to own control all land all production, all food, turning wonderful village lives to impoverished worker renters. Corporate and wealthy owning vaste estates exporting monoculture crops intensive energy chemicals water land use probably considering getting rid of SERFS if robots cheaper. Expulsion to cities as English Enclosure laws allowed, or let them die, or hasten their deaths. Tech is great for many getting better all the time, but so much of humanity and other living things need natural ways to survive and thrive.


It’s not what we do, it’s how we do it. We must prioritize ourselves over our profits.


So as with all economists, it’s ‘on the one hand this, on the other, that’. German farming is intensely mechanised, and the farm workers, when not doing maintenance, act as pilots for the machinery. Hard to see what difference “robots” would make.