November 26, 2018
Great transformations that impact on the world of work
The rhythm is amazing. Many initiatives, which began to be suggested a few years ago, are realities that are about to pass the proof of concept and be available to society. Some of them started with seemingly pointless investigations, breaking the idea that basic science is not applicable.

By Gustavo Grobocopatel, President of Grupo Los Grobo.

For example, a small high-speed injector that can be used with several products, including soy or corn, can become the basic mechanism that triggers a new agricultural revolution and, among other things, return tractors or machinery, such as Today we know them, in an obsolete technology (when injecting it is not necessary to drag). The new machinery could be designed and manufactured in a garage with 3D technology and the necessary energy could come from renewable sources such as sun or air. These injectors could also be a "weapon" to eliminate insects or weeds without the use of agrochemicals. The costs and the impact on the environment would fall substantially.

The same would happen if we can capture the nitrogen (N) in the air (70% of the air is N) and make it available for the plants in the form of ammonium. The cost of it would be reduced several times, the robots could measure, at high speed, the amount of N available in the soil and inject, in real time, what the plant needs, meter by meter. The cheapening of the fertilizer would allow to raise the doses and the productivities, the curves of economic optimum would be modified substantially by the change in the input / product ratio and would have to rethink the structure of the plants and the architecture of the crops: a green revolution 4.0.

By not needing large machinery, it could be produced without tearing down trees, including restoring damaged ecosystems. These robots can perform tasks at high speed, they do not get tired, they do not need to sleep, they do not stop to eat, they do not have cold or heat. The concept that maquila is made with cheap labor is broken. The maquila will be done where there is knowledge.

The agriculture that comes would not need fossil fuels, nor agrochemicals, nor fertilizers; It would be much, much cheaper to produce. The productivities would be greater and, especially with less carbon emissions, remedying the damage to fragile ecosystems, expanding borders without damaging them.

The convergence of these models with precision agriculture, machine learning, internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), drones and constellations of satellites, will substantially change the way of managing. The harvest of data and its processing will allow adjustments in decision making in real time, without space limits.

In biotechnology the novelties are not minor. New events of gene editing, wider access and lower cost, new selection mechanisms, much more diverse products, integration with the microbiology of the 21st century and renewed chemical molecules, expand destinations and allow us to dream of a hopeful future.

This happens while traditional products begin to be challenged. The artificial meat uses only 10% of the surface and emits only 10% of the gases that common meat. Its energy efficiency is already double and can still improve. Post-granary agriculture, that of bioplastics, agriceuticals (foods that cure), which allows to build houses with recyclable materials, or the cultivation of algae in the land and in the sea, the desalination of sea water with renewable energy sources , cheaper, opens new opportunities and challenges. Some of these topics are not new, but the speed of their development is surprising.

The logistics will be challenged with the uberization of transport and the use of very sophisticated mathematical models for planning. Also other technologies such as lyophilization will try to radically change the cost of global food flows.

Meanwhile, dozens of good news come from medicine and its convergence with agricultural technologies, with the personalization of it (medicine of presicion), the solution to diseases until recently indecipherable, the regeneration of organs and the microorganisms that heal.

Consumers will have more information with the increasing use of technologies such as the blockchain and the preserved identity will probably be a required basic condition. The boundaries between what is organic and what is not will be more diffuse, and biodiversity will also be in laboratories. Probably the quality of the product will be more important than the quality of the process.

The bioeconomy, like other activities, gives new opportunities for a country that has the necessary talents and resources. It is difficult that we can find them in sectors or businesses where other players in the world are already installed for years and they do it very well. The challenge of the strategy of a society, and any organization in times of transformation, is precisely to design and play in its own field of play, with global rules.

I do not intend to exhaust with these examples the subject, there are many more, some beyond the imagination. We are at the beginning of changes that will impact us in many ways. Meanwhile in our beloved Argentina we are distracted in conversations from other times. Our potential is enormous, as is our capacity for self-destruction. In the field we are very proud of what we did but we do not realize that it is the fruit of ideas from more than 20 years ago. The agenda of the next 10 years should have us as renewed protagonists. We must build leadership and institutions that can guide and manage this transforming flood: laws, norms, institutes and a state of quality, of this time.

The challenges of how to include the majorities, equity and equal opportunities should be considered as part of the transformative process and not as a heavy burden that ultimately creates poverty. In this next world there will be more work, different from the current one, and there will be new offers to improve our quality of life. We must move there with enthusiasm and hope, together.

The dilemma of whether we are or will be "homeland" or "colony" comes back again and again. "Colonia" will be if we are condemned to import technologies, goods and services, a conditioned progress. "Homeland" we will be if we can put our brains and organizations in pursuit of a bright future, integrating the world with everything we have. In short, the dream of a society with an immense middle class, upward mobility, federal, creative and free talents, entrepreneurs, solidarity, which mobilized several generations to think of us as a collective in pursuit of a new and glorious Nation.

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Automatic translation from spanish.

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