Rethinking legal frameworks – Is smarter agriculture better agriculture?

The systemic analysis impact for innovation always brings up interesting discussions and questions with regards to legal and environment frameworks. There are so many recurring and new initiatives taking place, experts prioritizing and visualizing pain points, you can actually picture the system wondering where to go. How do our regulatory and environmental frameworks manage the technological and digital disruption ahead? And does it make sense to industrialize nature?

Although adaptations to newly developed technologies are under scrutiny, calls for rapid decision pressure regulatory bodies to understand fast changes occurring across sectors, identifying the right timing in the midst of growing emergencies such as block chain and fin tech. On the environment side, the use of technologies to reduce carbon emissions and optimize energy consumptions also question the type of intelligence that is needed to produce healthy and qualify food out of productivity and data based approaches of nature. As experts and specialists outline, across sectors and regardless of the technology analyzed, there is an emergency to assess systemic impact of innovations and include the right stakeholders, local inhabitants for instance, into decision making. 

Rethinking legal frameworks

The rapid advance achieved by technological developments and their related social impact are challenging current legal and regulatory framework. In particular, the ownership of data bases is identified as a pain point with regards to the many different types of sectors and related rights they impact. There is a need to update current reading grid for rights and ownership to better adapt to new communication and data analytics tools. According to specialists, such transition is carefully and holistically driven by public authorities such as the EU commission to better understand the scope and impact supporting each new technology. The challenge is to identify the right timing.

<< Protecting a database is possible through those different legal tool. Nevertheless, obtaining and actioning this protection proves difficult because it stands at the intersection of different laws that could cover each other. >>

Lire plus: “PI: quelle protection pour le Big Data?“, Rémy Cadoret, LinkedIn

<< One of the critical point outlined by report writers was the balance to define in the execution of regulation. It cannot arrive too early or too late in the process, nor impose too demanding or not enough demanding rules.>>

Lire plus: “Intelligence artificielle, robotique… Où va vraiment l’Europe?“, Julien Bergounhoux, Usine Digitale

Business experts also highlight privately driven initiatives to try and coordinate efforts within common standards, as a way to complement the regulatory adaptation needed. Because they face those technical and security challenges through their own development activities, they can highlight the specific areas where laws and rules need to be adapted, suggesting ways to do so.

<<This likely will mean convening a group of leading AI experts, such as OpenAI, and establishing a standard that includes explicit definitions for neural network architectures (a neural network contains instructions to train an AI model and interpret an AI model), as well as quality standards to which AI must adhere.>>

Read more: “Artificial Intelligence and The Law“, Abel Castilla, Jeremy Elman, Tech Crunch

<<It’s time to rethink how we understand the cybersecurity of digital communications. One of the U.N.’s leading champions of free expression, international law expert David Kaye, in 2015 called for “the encryption of private communications to be made a standard.”>>

Read more: “Should Cybersecurity Be a Human Right?“, Scott Schackelford, Live Science

Technologies like block chain and fin tech for instance are identified as key regulation disrupters. Experts highlight the time needed to adapt the legal framework around advanced and fast developing digital tools, leading to cross-sector transformations. Accessing data and privacy remains at the heart of discussions, through EU commission’s attempt to balance privacy protection requirements between operators and OTT players. Which indeed leaves time before block chain legal adaptation talks reach their conclusions, even though all emergencies are identified.

<< Despite its development, this technology faces a legal void. Everyone wishes a bridge could be built between blockchain world and current legal world. But this will take years.>> 

Lire plus: “Un vide juridique pèse sur la technologie Blockchain“, Emmanuel Garessus, Le Temps

<<Financial technology companies require greater oversight because they have the potential to disrupt the banking industry and could threaten financial stability, Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said on Wednesday.>>

Read more: “Fintech sector needs more regulatory oversight: Bundesbank“, Balazs

<<It is not the only satisfying topic they can have by the way. Because the European Commission has also granted them an important gift: an additional flexibility to use both “the content of data and meta-data from communications”, in order to “provide additional services”.>>

Lire plus: “Données personnelles: le projet à double tranchant de Bruxelles“, Amélie Charnay, 01net

Is smarter agriculture better agriculture?

The technical advance brought by more intelligent, more automated and more robotized tools also drives breakthroughs in the agriculture sector. The promise of more sustainable, more balanced and more profitable food production mirrors needs of an entire industry to rationalize efforts and costs to produce smarter, and better. By addressing health and environmental causes, smart farms and their precise robots hold the potential to define the future of food.

<< “The solution here is new to farmers and will help them reduce drastically the quantity of herbicides they spray on field crops. The impact for a sustainable society could be huge because we aim at reducing the use of agrochemicals by 80%”, Guillaume Jourdain, Bilberry CEO>> 

Lire plus: “#SIA2017: Avec sa plateforme IoT, EIT Digital veut aider les agriculteurs à réduire les pesticides“, Iris Maignan, Maddyness

<<“Nowadays, when you drive on the motorway and you see a tractor in a field, its work is calibrated to the last centimeter. GPS and maps are entirely integrated to agriculture.” This is precision agriculture.>> 

Lire plus: “Les 4 tendances de l’agriculture selon la Présidente du SIMA“, Séverine Fontaine, Industrie et Technologies

There is indeed a global effort driven to reduce carbon emissions on industrial levels, beyond agriculture as an industry. From construction to managing plants energy thanks to intelligent technologies, developing environment friendly approaches and material inspires new methodologies and design processes. It is about adapting industrial assets to their natural ecosystem, and identifying smart changes to re-use in circular models.

<<As an industry becomes more efficient in utilizing its resources, lower amounts of emissions are released by it into the atmosphere. The use of sustainable energy is also crucial for a secure environment and economic progress.>>

Read more: “Industrial IoT and energy efficiency will slash carbon emissions“, Sumity Paul, ReadWrite

<< Designed by the British company Solardome, specializing in this type of constructions, this dome, on top of providing enough energy for a family thanks to solar panels, protects them from extreme temperatures and strong winds which are a characteristic of the Arctic Circle.>> 

Lire plus: “En Norvège, une maison autonome… sous bulle“, Maxime Albors, Novae

Such holistic approach also leads to better assess the systemic impact of industrial technologies. Data specialists have been able to prove that technological and industrialized agriculture was counter-productive without repairing current damages caused the quality of soil and its ecosystem, questioning the necessity of being smarter than natural processes themselves. Other experts outline the benefits of including local inhabitants in financing and driving green energy initiatives. Those stand as inspiring tools to redefine smart agriculture, and better understand its systemic social and environmental value, beyond its industrial and economic benefits.

<< The answer of industrial and public authorities has always been to produce more, except that producing more without taking care of the soil will lead to nothing but the unrepairable sterility of soil and a food crises much worse that what we previously imagined.>> 

Lire plus: “DataGueule frappe fort et explique comment l’agriculture surproduit sans réelle efficacité“, Diane Deswarte, La relève et la peste

<< “Many individuals are willing to support energy transition”, as claims Alexandre Raguet, Lumo president. “Local regions are interested, because having inhabitants participate to projects favors their acceptance.”>> 

Lire plus: “Energies vertes: le boom du financement participatif“, Anne Feitz, Les Echos

Through Loop#2, we have identified a set of actions for global knowledge communities to partner with the digital crowd. The action derived from our latest “Big Picture” is included below:


Legal and environment experts talks highlight our ability to challenge and question industrial and regulatory frameworks as a global community. As a result, this is how they inspire intelligent change:

  • How do they anticipate and drive a growingly horizontal business future fueled by connected data analysis? They identify the positive and negative impact of technologies to define a “fair” use for data based decision making, that is addressing the right issue (“de-productize” vs. optimizing production) and finding the right timing for regulation.
  • Who are those consultants and experts? They are business experts and legal specialists, as well as manufacturers, medias and startups discussing the value of technologies for agriculture.
  • Why do agile players apprehend strategies in new approaches thanks to data? Experts seek to refine current legal framework and jointly identify pain points, as well as better highlight current systemic impacts (positive or negative) of industrialized agriculture
  • How do they break away from the usual organizational and structural concepts that relate to past ways of sharing information? Experts organize sector standards from private initiatives and call on local inhabitants to support energy transition projects.
  • When do they anticipate future changes by outlining the limits of what they know at present? By better identifying damages already generated to soil fertility and questioning the smartness of technology everywhere, by identifying cross-sector disruptions that will put specific financial technologies under radar.
  • Where do they use social communications even though in early stages? They use press and media channels to promote messages to active users and readers, they seek to alert industrial stakeholders on priorities and threats driven by cross-sector digitalization. writes the innovation story that thousands of innovation experts around the world constantly develop and share on WAI social networks. Browse our knowledge library and read our management reports to learn more.

Photograph: Nirina Photography

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