An article over at the Daily Mail discusses another field where robots are becoming more effective at humans: picking grapes in French vineyards. Or as the first sentence puts it “picking wine.” (Editors please!)
Actually it does much more, monitoring the health of the soil and plants as well – it’s a whole automated lab. First there’s the classic lazy-humans argument:
‘Which isn’t bad considering it works day and night, even Sundays, doesn’t take holidays or stop for a snack,’ Julien said.
‘If I have the choice between the robot and the employee, I’ll take the robot — it’s less expensive and less trouble,’ said Patricia Chabrol, owner of Chateau Gerbaud in Saint Emilion who has seen Wall-Ye at work.
But there’s also a more interesting and less-frequently-observed point made;
‘But it’s not just about labour costs, it’s about the quality of the pruning. We often have novice pruners who have to be trained each year,’ Green said.
One of the advantages of robots is not just that they don’t take breaks, it’s that they can often do a better job than many humans. Hopefully this invention will let humans get out of the fields and into the labs designing even better robots.