Friday, February 1, 2013

Automaton Farms


As an lone, absentee farmer, I enjoy the prospect of a certain amount of automation, but the automation below requires an enormous amount of material control so that it functions as it's supposed to. I do think the first video's machine movements are strangely beautiful, somehow suggestive of Theo Jansen's Strandbeests (see video at bottom). It should be no surprise that both these inventions were born of the same culture.

Consider how much effort we put into the reduction of labor (or the increase in the productivity of the labor we retain) at the expense of people, and the locus of this practice has been agriculture for the last 200 years. Imagine GPS controlled machines that harvest apples, tomatoes, or pumpkins (it's already the norm for grains).  If they could be wind powered like the Strandbeests, wouldn't we find a way to get behind it? All this a reminder of how much we want to escape the fields and that I really need to finish reading Machine in the Garden, a great study by Leo Marx.

Thanks to Pruned for bringing these videos to my attention. 













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