Agricultural Productivity Will Rise to the Challenge

We can feed a growing world for decades to come provided that we invest in research not only in the advanced countries, but everywhere

15 min read
Agricultural Productivity Will Rise to the Challenge
Image: Dan Saelinger; Stylist: Dominique Baynes; Food Stylist: Carol Ladd

“Despite the global food crisis of 2007–8, the coming famine hasn’t happened yet. It is a looming planetary emergency…it is arriving even faster than climate change.” That’s the vision of famine that awaits us, says Australian science writer Julian Cribb. And he’s far from alone. “The world is in transition from an era of food abundance to one of scarcity,” says the environmentalist Lester Brown.

They’re wrong, and their virulent strain of technopessimism—which is finding lots of resonance in the media these days—has been wrong for a long time. In his 1968 book The Population Bomb, Paul R. Ehrlich wrote: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.” Ehrlich himself rode the frayed coattails of Thomas Malthus, who two centuries ago warned that the combination of an arithmetic increase in food supply and a geometric increase in population would result in famine, pestilence, and war.

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World Builders Put Happy Face On Superintelligent AI

The Future of Life Institute’s contest counters today’s dystopian doomscapes

4 min read
A cityscape ensconced in an iridescent dome of light and shapes.
Hiroshi Watanabe/Getty Images

One of the biggest challenges in a World Building competition that asked teams to imagine a positive future with superintelligent AI: Make it plausible.

The Future of Life Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on existential threats to humanity, organized the contest and is offering a hefty prize purse of up to $140,000, to be divided among multiple winners. Last week FLI announced the 20 finalists from 144 entries, and the group will declare the winners on June 15.

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Startup Makes It Easier to Detect Fires With IoT and Flir Cameras

The system employs predictive analytics and AI

3 min read
A tablet computer shows blueprints overlaid with thermal imagery.

MoviTHERM’s iEFD system’s online dashboard shows a diagram of the interconnected sensors, instruments, Flir cameras, and other devices that are monitoring a facility.

MoviTHERM

Fires at recycling sorting facilities, ignited by combustible materials in the waste stream, can cause millions of dollars in damage, injuring workers and first responders and contaminating the air.

Detecting the blazes early is key to preventing them from getting out of control.

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Why Battery Energy Storage Is Moving to Higher DC Voltages

Download this free whitepaper to learn how battery energy storage up to 1500 VDC can deliver power efficiencies and cost reductions

1 min read

The explosive growth of the battery energy storage industry has created a need for higher DC voltages in utility-scale applications.

Download this free whitepaper and learn how you can achieve a smooth transfer of power, efficiencies and cost reductions with battery energy storage system components up to1500 VDC.