WHAT happens when farming equipment gets its own Facebook account and the pump starts talking to the tank on the web?
This is what the Internet of Things, or IoT, means to agriculture.
What will flow from consumers accessing a single source of truth about the journey of food from paddock to fork?
This is the application of blockchain to beef production.
And how will the ability to culture meat in a lab, then print it to order, play out for the cattle producer?
That’s what artificial intelligence can deliver.
Without actually answering those questions, one of the top architects from big United States technology company Intel Corporation, Ted Connell, shifted thinking about emerging technologies and the role they will play in agriculture when he presented at the big lotfeeding industry event BeefEx 2018 in Brisbane this week.
These tsunamis are coming and it’s your choice if you’re in front of them, he told delegates who hailed from all parts of the beef supply chain.
Big data, big business, big picture, and even big crime, was the opening theme for the conference, hosted by the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association.
Stephen Scheeler, digital consultant and former chief executive officer of Facebook Australia, said there was a data arms race happening across all industries and most of the future value agriculture operators would create for customers would come from data they either don’t have or don’t understand today.
Only five to 10 per cent of data in the consumer world was used and in the industrial world, that figure was well under 1pc, he said.
“Companies worth hundreds of millions have grown by connecting people and when we connect smart things, the same will happen,” he said.
“The infrastructure to make this work is now affordable.”
It would lead to new business models and opportunities and it was high time agriculture worked out how it could benefit.
AI was not taking over the world, as many would have us believe, but was “just math, just a bunch of if-this-then-that statements,” Mr Connell said.
Yet it could “do to the creation of food what Henry Ford did,” he said.
Via cultured meat and food printing, it would be possible to take one cow and feed billions.
“If you are thinking about this as competition, you’re thinking about it wrong,” Mr Connell said.
“It’s market expansion.
“Billions of people - think Bangladesh, China, India - can not afford meat protein but if we can print it and drop the cost, that market grows exponentially.
“I’ll still eat my grass-fed steak from Wyoming but the fact is we’re probably going to get Mcnuggets that are printed in the future so you need to be thinking how do you get into this business.”
Head of agribusiness at National Australia Bank Khan Horne said he loved hearing about opportunities and being challenged but had a key point to make on the whole big data, big picture theme.
It comes with big crime.
Every single week NAB was getting hit and seeing customers affected by cybercrime, he told the conference.
Who hasn’t been a victim - had their identity stolen, an email hacked or fallen prey to simple invoice fraud, he asked the audience.
“My point is be aware and beware,” he said.
“Know that people using our data may not always have our best interests at heart.
“Have the conversation with your staff, your family and think about putting in place insurance.
“You don’t have to tell the whole world where you are, your mother’s maiden name, your favourite dog.
“All these little bits of information can be used against you.”