Aquaponics with AI?

Most people understand the general concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI), but not a lot of people see AI as more than just a robot.

AI is actually already somewhat implemented in our lives, for example, that time you played Call of Duty with your mates. That driverless car you have been seeing all over the web. Maybe even music and movie predictions like when you were on Spotify or Netflix or even the new smart home devices, such as Google Home or Amazon Echo Dot. These are all examples of AI! Some obviously more advanced and complex.

AI has been around for a while now and has grown drastically as the years progress, yet still people confuse AI with AGI (Artificial General Intelligence). What people are mostly “afraid” of is AGI, which to my knowledge has still not been achieved. The simple difference between AI and AGI is, AI is basically preprogrammed to give you an outcome. Whereas AGI adapts its answers as it learns, similar to a normal human learning with every step it takes.

Since we haven’t achieved AGI, I won’t go into it any further. Not here anyway.

I think it is safe to say all technologies are made for human benefit in one form or another, otherwise why make them? However, we do not drive technology to maximise the potential to help achieve basic human need but drive it to maximise profit. So once we do break out of this loop (never) we could focus on the most basic forms of need for all humans and achieving that by integrating technology into our needs. Just incase you have forgotten those needs they include: Oxygen, Water, Food, Shelter and Sleep.

I chose to look at Food and how we could integrate AI into it, in return achieving 1 of our 5 basic human needs.

Aquaponics: The most simple definition is that it is the marriage of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system.

This works because the fish in the system produce waste which the microbes and worms convert into fertiliser for the plant which in-turn filters the water for the fish. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the system uses only 10% of the water used in traditional soil based gardening. If the system is set up correctly it can be maintained to run as a stable system with only fish food as input and the output being fresh organic pesticide-free produce as well fresh freshwater fish.

Here is where we could apply AI. The Aquaponics system is only kept stable if the complex but delicate miniature Eco-system is kept maintained. Things like oxygen, temperature and water flow need to be steady, the pH level and concentration of ammonia also needs to be regulated. Using sensors and controllers all of the maintenance inside the Eco-system could be taken care of by AI. This could potentially remove the human factor from the equation and letting you quite literally put your feet up while your produce and fresh fish grow in size and number.

At the moment Aquaponics does not have the means to be competitive enough to rival conventional food production methods however we are not far from this, there have been a few groups who have ideas in starting this move but are only in crowd-funding stages. One start-up I have come across is Greenfinity who claim to have come up with an “Automated Aquaponics Micro-Farm”.

If I were to imagine Aquaponics in the future I would see houses with integrated Aquaponics system, offices with dedicated floors, schools and all other publicly accessible buildings with dedicated rooms for public use. If there were to be an Aquaponics system that was self sustainable they could even be placed in areas where previously were not arable such as The Sahara . So despite all the obstacles we need to overcome to achieve this goal this system will certainly become the future of the cultivating world.