India: Using Artificial Intelligence for the Good of Farmers
After graduating from IIT-Madras, the first thing that Vivek Rajkumar did was to buy four acres near Thiruvananthapuram and start farming, according to an article on India’s TheHinduBusinessLine.com. He was trying to cultivate paddy and grow banana. His neighbours were small farmers and all of them consulted a self-styled local expert on all matters agriculture. That expert, says Vivek, had no clue of what he was talking about. Yields were bad and profitability was poor; it didn’t make any sense at all, he adds.
“I successfully became a failed farmer in 2011,” Vivek says. It was the changes that the internet was bringing about that made him pursue a venture in farming and figure out how the fundamental economics of farming can be different. His farming venture having failed, the next best thing for Vivek to do was to start a venture that would provide real-time precision agriculture services to farmers, using the latest technology.
He had built a drone that could take multi-spectral images of crops. He named the venture Airwood Aerostructure, which was later renamed Aibono with the Ai standing for Artificial Intelligence and bono, meaning for the public good.