Can Big Data Feed Us All?

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Can Big Data Feed Us All?

by RP Siegel
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Cutting edge #agricultural projects could yield anywhere from 10x to 100x the norm - Thanks #BigData http://bit.ly/1t79Lrk @Justmeans

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 8:00am

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We’ve heard a lot about how the ubiquitous and free flow of information is going to improve our quality of life, through smart phones, smart grids, smart cities and smart cars. That’s all well and good, but what about basic questions like can I get enough to eat?

Well it turns out, big data has some good news for us there, too.

Ramez Naam, in his book The Infinite Resource, described some cutting edge agricultural projects with yields anywhere from ten to a hundred times the norm. Using this as a benchmark, Naam surmises that we will have plenty of food to feed ten billion mouths. Agronomist Kenneth Cassman from the University of Nebraska, took this idea to the work boots on the ground level when he and his colleagues unveiled the Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas last month at the Water for Food conference in Seattle where the theme was “Harnessing the Data Revolution to Ensure Food and Water Security From Field to Global Scales.”

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Image credit: Eric Reiter: Flickr Creative Commons

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. He has been published in business and technical journals and has written three books. His third, co-authored with Roger Saillant, is Vapor Trails, an eco-thriller that is being adapted for the big screen. RP is a professional engineer – and a prolific inventor, with 50 patents, numerous awards, and several commercial products. He is president of Rain Mountain LLC and is an active environmental advocate in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. In addition to Justmeans, he writes for Triple Pundit, ThomasNet News, and Energy Viewpoints, occasionally contributing to Mechanical Engineering, Strategy + Business, and Huffington Post. You can follow RP on Twitter, @RPSiegel. 

Keywords: Environment | Big Data | Food Cowboy | Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas | Kenneth Cassman | Monsanto | Ramez Naam | Roberto Lenton | Syngnenta | The Infinite Resource | University of Nebraska

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