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Episode 21

Josh Lessing

              On the penultimate episode (Ep.21) of Season One of The Robot Brains Podcast our guest is Josh Lessing. Josh is the CTO of AppHarvest, one of the leading pioneers in Agricultural Technology (or AgTech).

 

Farming is one of the world's oldest industries, but in many ways the technologies and techniques used by farmers hasn't progressed much in centuries. But with recent advances in AI and robotics, AgTech looks certain to transform the entire industry.

 

At AppHarvest, Josh is helping to build some of America's largest and most technologically advanced greenhouses. AppHarvest’s flagship greenhouse is located in Morehead, Kentucky, and spans 60 acres.

 

This modern greenhouse will use “90% less water than traditional open-field agriculture.” The company's greenhouse, which currently focuses on growing fruit, has a central US location that's within a day’s drive of 70% of the U.S. population, allowing AppHarvest to reduce the amount of fuel consumed in transportation by 80%. Inside the Greenhouse you’ll find conventional agriculture techniques combined with the most advanced AI and Robotics technologies to grow non-GMO, chemical-free produce. Josh joined AppHarvest through the acquisition of his own company Root-AI earlier this year.

In his conversation with our host, Pieter Abbeel, Josh describes how AppHarvest's flagship tomato-picking robot actually works, what the future of AI farming looks like, and why Morehead, Kentucky is a great place to visit if you want to see robots in action.

Host: Pieter Abbeel | Executive Producers: Ricardo Reyes & Henry Tobias Jones | Audio Production: Kieron Matthew Banerji | Title Music: Alejandro Del Pozo

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