The funding was used to build a Data Marketplace, which houses information from across the global food system. Agrochemical giant BASF and consumer goods company Unilever were early customers. Recently Airbus, the world’s second largest aerospace company, announced they would use Agrimetrics to sell satellite imagery that can be used to monitor crop health.
“The Marketplace is a great way to get people sharing information in the same place, but that’s only the first stage of the solution,” continues Professor Tiffin. “If we are to answer complex questions then data needs to be organised in certain ways. This includes predicting future food shortages, finding ways of reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint and limiting the spread of crop disease.”
Agrimetrics uses a ‘Knowledge Graph’ to connect the data on its Marketplace; the same technology used by Google and Amazon. It works by defining the relationship between data, which enables people and machines to find the information they need more quickly.
“The current applications of artificial intelligence are narrow and require human intervention. The beauty of organising data in this way is that AI will be able to self-serve. It will be able to explore the connections between billions of different variables, uncovering links and insights that we’d never even considered.”
For example, assume you are researching the cause of your house plant’s recent poor health. AI could use the knowledge graph to identify variables influencing plant health: soil, temperature, fertilisation, pot, light, and irrigation. Then automatically understand the variables relevant to these variables – and so on. The answer could be temperature spikes causes by turning your oven on, or contamination in the production of your artificial fertiliser.