Poultry production in the age of artificial intelligence

Using artificial intelligence in the poultry industry can deepen operational understanding, resulting in deeper and quicker productivity improvements.

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Ai chipset on computer circuit board. Artificial intelligence, Data mining, and Deep learning modern computer technology. Ai CPU concept. 3D Rendering.
Ai chipset on computer circuit board. Artificial intelligence, Data mining, and Deep learning modern computer technology. Ai CPU concept. 3D Rendering.
AI offers the opportunity to boost the application of knowledge at scale and speed, but it will be human creativity and judgement that will act as differentiators. Peach_iStock | iStock.com

In a recent blog, Bill Gates describes the development of artificial intelligence (AI) “as fundamental as the creation of the microprocessor, the personal computer, the Internet and the mobile phone." It will change the way people work, learn, travel, access health care and communicate with each other, he concludes.

Most of us have been surprised by the visible development of AI in the form of applications such as ChatGPT, with interesting achievements such as passing graduate-level exams in prestigious law and business schools.

Interestingly, the core capability of this generation of chatbots is predicting the next word in a text. However, as Ilya Sutskever, co-founder of OpenAI, explained in an interview, to achieve that simple task, the AI model behind the app needs to develop a significant understanding of the world. 

Take a complex detective novel, with multiple characters and parallel plots. To complete the sentence “and the killer is …” you would need to have a logical understanding of the whole plot. 

As with other technological breakthroughs, AI opens a world of opportunities, but brings risks with it. In this case, we think about our essence as humans and our future role. 

What does it mean for the poultry industry and those in it? What does it mean for our future industry professionals and leaders?

Many opportunities for poultry

It is undeniable that the potential impact of AI on the poultry industry’s productivity and sustainability is huge. We must recognize that our current understanding of the reality of a complex production system is curtailed by our human limitations.

What we know is limited, how quickly we process information is limited, we cannot be everywhere at once, we cannot pay attention to every detail, and we cannot read every book and paper. 

The opportunity is to boost our ability to apply knowledge at scale and speed, raising our abilities as humans to previously unachievable levels.  

Many companies have already digitally transformed their operations and have the infrastructure, human resources and capabilities to take advantage of developments. Others must hurry.

It is hard to predict all the applications of AI that will impact our sector. They will likely include new levels of automation across the company, especially in areas with repetitive tasks, and a stronger move towards real-time, AI powered decision-making based on human judgement.

What is interesting is that every company will need to figure out and operationalize the right way to benefit from these new technologies. The most effective at that will seize the momentum. 

The next generation of poultry professionals

The meaning of being a professional in every area will evolve. Knowing information will not differentiate professionals when AI has access to, and meaningful use of, the body of information in your field. Creativity, leadership and judgement will be the differentiators. The next generation of professionals will move in that direction.

When these tools are mature and their power is unleashed, the abilities and the leverage of professionals will be taken to a different level. 

As an example, one of the limitations of field veterinarians is their own time and reach. Wouldn’t AI help them to be more effective, by deploying knowledge and assisted decision making across an organization?

The same happens with nutritionists and production managers. Their abilities and leverage can be boosted many times over. 

This, however, will not happen on its own. It will be this, and the next generation of professionals, that will shape and implement the AI age in the poultry industry. It will be swiftly moving organizations seizing opportunities and mitigating risks that make it happen. 

Digitalization - a growing divide in animal production

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