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Do you dare to go onto the dance floor and, if so, who leads?

Just when you thought you knew everything there is to know about your crop, climate control and disease control, out of the blue algorithms appear on the scene. In fact, an algorithm is nothing more than a mathematical machine that consists of various calculation methods designed to achieve a certain objective. Yet, the claim is that these algorithms can do your work, and perhaps even better. What do you do? Resist it? Or take part in the dance?

Cultivation is a profession based on years of education, training and especially experience. Much knowledge is passed from one generation to the next, and many growers are raised in the greenhouse as it were. Where in the past we thought it was impossible to capture cultivation knowledge in computer software, we are increasingly seeing more evidence that this is possible after all.

There is little debate that new technologies must also find their way into the horticultural sector because they help the sector further along. This trend has been underway for several decades now. Then what is it that makes recent technological developments different from before? It is my observation that especially the term artificial intelligence is a trigger and is considered exciting. Many have some idea of what this should be, but these views are scattered in all directions.

In my opinion, Oracle’s explanation best hits the mark: ‘In simple terms, artificial intelligence (AI) refers to systems or machines that mimic our own intelligence in order to perform tasks, and improve themselves during this process on the basis of the collected information.’

When you extend this far into the future, then logically there will come a point at which machines can learn, think and act faster than a human being is capable of. While this has many positive aspects, it can also lead to tension. This is why you could compare this to a dance. You have to move together, you have to feel each other out, but the question remains: do you dare to go onto the dance floor and, if so, who leads?

At Blue Radix, we have a definite opinion about this. Algorithms must help us further advance by taking work off our hands. Not only routine manual work, but especially repetitive thought processes. Such as processes in the daily operation of the greenhouse, for example, climate control, irrigation and energy management. Of course, always in smart interaction with humans. Humans above all add creativity, new cultivation strategies, innovations and ideas for continuous process improvement. This creativity continuously improves the whole, whereby algorithms in actual practice help realize this in automated ways. Isn’t that beautiful? A beautiful dance, in which the human leads by thinking about the next steps. In this interaction, the algorithm is following and looks after the implementation. This completes the dynamic and ensures that both strengths are used to their maximum potential.

I am convinced that this will become a logical component in our sector. Interested in taking dancing lessons? If so, register for a demo or pilot at Blue Radix.

Ronald Hoek
CEO Blue Radix