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Link: The AI revolution comes for farmers growing a third of our food - The Japan Times

In the village of Ndodo, 40 kilometers south of the Malawian capital Lilongwe, farmers gather in the shade of an acacia tree as a voice over a smartphone tells them how to get rid of a weevil that’s destroying their sweet potato crops. The tips offered by the app in the local language Chichewa is one of the first examples of how artificial intelligence is being used to aid subsistence farmers in some of the poorest parts of the world. Piloted by a Chicago-based nonprofit organization Opportunity International, the app called Ulangizi — which translates as "Advice” — works on WhatsApp and uses data from ChatGPT and the Malawian government’s English-language agricultural manual to answer questions or diagnose crop and farm animal diseases. About 2 million Malawians have access to the internet and there are 12 million registered sim cards, Moses Kunkuyu, the country’s information minister, said. Still, access to smart devices is limited, he said. That said, farmers can access WhatsApp on some of the more basic phones. Farmers who’ve been part of the AI app trial say it’s saving them time and money. "It is quicker working on the app,” said Maron Galeta a 32-year-old father of two. "In the past we could wait for days for agriculture extension workers to come and address whatever problems we had on our farms. That is no longer the case. Just a touch of a button we have all the information we need.” #


Yoooo, this is a quick note on a link that made me go, WTF? Find all past links here.