Robots really are starting to take over jobs – a company in Japan has just announced they will open the world’s first “robot farm”.
Spread, a vegetable producer announced that tasks except one will be handled by robots in their vast indoor farm in Kameoka, Kyoto prefecture, starting from mid-2017. This includes re-planting, watering, trimming and even harvesting.
“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.
The change is also expected to raise efficiency. The farm, measuring about 4,400 sq metres will boost production from 21,000 lettuces a day to 50,000 a day, the firm said, adding that they want to ultimately increase that number tenfold.
This is not just an isolated experiment – they want to expand this concept to more farms in Japan, and ultimately, overseas.
“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,” Price said. “We want to generate interest in farming, particularly among young people.”
Also, the company was quick to add that these robots are not human-like droids, but rather look like conveyer belts equipped with custom-made robotic arms that can handle the lettuce and watering.
Agriculture will join a number of other areas where robots are already taking over the hard labor parts. This shift is more prevalent in Japan than in other areas of the world, as the country is trying to deal with its ageing population problem. Japan is currently experiencing a dramatic demographic crisis, and as a result more and more “non-creative” jobs are being taken over by robots. The Nomura Research Institute predicted that over 40% of non-creative jobs could be passed on to robots by 2035.