Makoto Koike of Japan grew up a cucumber farmer. But he always had bigger problems. Eventually he wound up in the automobile industry as a computer systems designer. There he learned to integrate artificial intelligence and automation into vehicle computer systems and became quite proficient with different machine learning systems. Inspired by this work, he decided to return to his parent’s cucumber farm in 2015 with an idea that would help them out tremendously.
Cucumber sorting: no easy task
On the surface, it might seem like sorting through cucumbers to find the best ones wouldn’t be so difficult, but there are many factors to take into consideration. Each cucumber has a different shape, color, quality, and freshness. It takes employees of Koike’s parents months to learn the system for sorting cucumbers and it’s very labor intensive and costly.
That’s when Koike had the idea of creating a program that would automate the sorting process and decrease expenses while maximizing profits. Though he had never used deep learning artificial intelligence technology before, he started out by experimenting with TensorFlow, Google’s open source deep learning platform. He discovered that by simply inputting images of cucumbers, TensorFlow was able to sort the vegetables with great accuracy. He continued to input images and fine tune the software until it was capable of sorting the vegetables at least as accurately as humans and much more quickly. Finally, he took the software and turned it into a fully-operational sorting machine that completely automates the process of cucumber sorting for his parent’s farm.
AI and the future
Cucumber sorting is hardly the greatest problem facing humanity, but the fact that Koike was able to harness the power of AI to solve it demonstrates the importance of such technology. There’s no limit to what it can do for humankind as it continues to be developed and applied to different problems.
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Source: newsweek. com/artificial-intelligence-cucumber-farm-raspberry-pi-495289