Whether you believe that robotic progress is a good thing or that your toaster is eventually going to kill you, you can’t halt technology. A new farm, almost completely run by robots has popped up in Japan. Vegetable producer Spread has just announced that, beginning in 2017, robots will do all but a single job on their lettuce farm in Kameoka, Kyoto prefecture. The innovation is reportedly to help fill the gap left by aging workers in the country. These robots are actually going to up the production totals significantly, bringing the crop yield from 21,000 lettuces a day to 50,000 a day and up to half a million within five years. That’s a lot of lettuce, both literally and how the kids are using the word these days.
The new farm of 4,400 square meters, which will be indoors, will use robots to transplant seedlings, water the lettuce, control the temperature, CO2 levels and humidity, as well as harvesting the plants. The move will reduce labor costs by around half. LED lights will reduce the energy prices and almost all of the water will be recycled. “The seeds will still be planted by humans, but every other step, from the transplanting of young seedlings to larger spaces as they grow to harvesting the lettuces, will be done automatically,” said JJ Price, Spread’s global marketing manager. “Our new farm could become a model for other farms, but our aim is not to replace human farmers, but to develop a system where humans and machines work together,” he added. “We want to generate interest in farming, particularly among young people.”
Well, okay, but if those young people aren’t going to actually be working at the farms, what does he mean? Generate interest in farming by having people stop by to take pictures of the robots and their lettuce harvesting? The company plans to build more farms around the country and internationally. How do you guys feel about this? Tweet me/us @JennaBusch/@Nerdist and let us know if it’s time to start building statues to honor our robot overlords. Hey, at least there will be job openings for people making the robots. Or will robots do that as well?