Thomas Daum:
Farm robots: ecological utopia or dystopia?


Dr. Thomas Daum is a senior research fellow at the Institute of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics (Hans-Ruthenberg-Institute) of the University of Hohenheim.  His work focuses on the economics and governance of sustainable agricultural transformation and food systems, with a focus on Africa and Asia. He is working as an consultant for the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and as a freelance journalist for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Presentation Abstract

Farm robots may lead to an ecological utopia where swarms of small robots help in overcoming the yield penalties and labour requirements associated with agroecological farming – or a dystopia with large robots cultivating monocultures. Societal discussions and policy action are needed to harness the potential of robots to serve people and the planet.