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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Most modern agricultural techniques are extremely energy intensive. We use fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, mechanical planters and harvesters, and long distance transport, all which requires energy input. In 1940 the united states produced 2.3 calories of food for every calorie of fossil fuel used. In 1974, the ratio was 1:1 [harpers.org], and it's been getting worse ever since.

    So we've been directly competing with robots for food ever since 1974. Our food supply depends upon a stable energy supply; this is n

    • I'm not concerned about the US corn situation at all.

      If it's not economically competative and is supported entirely by subsidies, then it is either will have to get more efficient (do you really think the US will be able to afford all these subsidies the next time a major recession hits?) or it's just going to get optimised out of existance.

      Stupid inefficient niches eventually go away.

      Also, if there's more energy being pumped into farming, and the price of energy goes up, it can be reduced. We already see no-till practices and other methodologies coming along that reduce the amount of work needed, while retaining reasaonble yields/efficiency.

      For me though, it's not these one-off things that are the problem.

      It's that there's a fundamental shift in progress to COMPLETELY link human food to robot food, whereas in the past it has only been a partial link, and to link ALL types of food to robot food.

      Once the link exists AT ALL, general human inginuity and economic forces (laws of physics allowing) will allow that link to gradually get more and more efficient over time.

      And short of all humans converting to vegetarianism, there's not a huge amount we can do to make the Mark 1 Homo Sapien Wetware Processor much more efficient.

      So we're faced with a gradually increasing difficulty to economically compete with the robots for said food...