Saturday, 27 May 2017

Brexit: Farmers to Use Machines to Make Up for Loss of EU Workers

robots-indoor-farming

LONDON: Robots will fill the void left by EU nationals once Brexit kicks in, farming experts have said. A new generation of robots are being readied to fill a labor shortage on Britain’s farms, which is expected post-Brexit. The robot, called Thorvald, has been designed for unskilled tasks. According to sources, Thorvald has already altered various farming jobs, such as carrying strawberry plants to picking. The robot can also walk across vast fields.

​​The creator of Thorvald, Professor Pal Johan from the University of Lincoln said in an interview, that the robots have the potential to do any task in agriculture. ​He added that potential labor shortages brought about by Brexit were the main motivation for developing Thorvald.

However, it could still be 10 years before robots master how to pick some fruits such as strawberries and raspberries without causing them damage.

​The farming industry is facing a huge crisis as the UK’s horticultural sector relies heavily on seasonal migrant workers to carry out labor-intensive tasks such as fruit-picking.  A large majority of those workers come from the EU and may be unable to receive working visas post-Brexit. As a result, the farming industry have been forced to look outside the box and seek help from the world of robotics. However a survey from Ipsos Mori also found the one in three people thought the risks of machine-learning outweigh the benefits. Physicist Stephen Hawking has already warned that sentiment computers, who are able to think and learn for themselves could enslave humans and wipe us out if not developed carefully. He said artificial intelligence would decimate middle class jobs and worsen inequality, creating significant political upheaval.

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