Artificial Intelligence best-practices in agriculture can help bridge the digital divide while tackling food insecurity

Asha Bajaj
5 min readOct 3, 2020

Rome, Oct 3 The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), IBM, and Microsoft, at an event, organized today with the Pontifical Academy for Life, relaunched a commitment towards developing forms of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that are inclusive and promote sustainable ways to achieve food and nutrition security, FAO reports said.

Using drones for agricultural survey work. Image credit: FAO

The aim of the online event: AI, Food for All. Dialogue and Experiences are to reinforce and build upon the Rome Call for AI Ethics endorsed by Pope Francis and co-signed by FAO, IBM, and Microsoft at a conference hosted by the Academy in February.

Today’s discussions also focused on concrete ways through which AI can contribute to achieving the goal of feeding an estimated global population of nearly 10 billion by 2050, and do this while safeguarding natural resources and addressing challenges such as climate change and the impacts of shocks including COVID-19.

Examples of best practices in the use of AI and digital technology in agriculture, and which are openly accessible in the form of digital public goods, were also presented.

“The implementation of clearly Western technologies in food production and food processing significantly affects the food cultures of the populations of the Earth. We must feed everyone, but not everyone must necessarily eat the same things,” said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life. The protection of biological diversity (human, plant, animal diversity) must be the focus of our attention and must guide the whole process, from the design phases (ethics by design) to the way in which these are proposed and spread in different social and cultural contexts,” he added.

“Transforming our food systems requires innovative solutions to ensure food security and nutrition for all,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. “At FAO, together with the development of AI tools, we work towards establishing the International Platform for Digital Food and Agriculture — an inclusive multi-stakeholder forum for identifying and discussing the potential benefits and risks of digitalization of the food and agricultural sectors. For this

Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women