As scientists find new ways to bypass nature and create some of the world’s most in-demand staples, Silicon Valley’s Singularity University New Zealand ambassador Kaila Colbin said the industry must be ready to adapt.
Speaking at the Australian Dairy Leaders lunch at Parliament House today, Ms Colbin said the rise of mind-boggling technology could actually benefit local producers as long as they were ready for it.
“Any industry is potentially under threat,’’ she said.
“My hope is that people will adapt now and it doesn’t take the sectors, like the Victorian dairy industry by surprise.’’
She said the advent of overseas companies including Perfect A, which produces milk without using cows and Impossible Foods, which created a plant-based beef burger that bleeds, were examples of how the industry was changing.
“When that burger first came out, it was $350,000 — now it’s market price,’’ Ms Colbin said.
“It’s the perfect example of exponential progression of price performance once it become driven by information as opposed to exclusively by the raw materials.’’
“We are absolutely on the path to that future.’’
Ms Colbin said she hoped her predictions would offer a window into how artificial intelligence, robotics, and nanotechnology could be adopted to solve some of the dairy industry’s biggest challenges.
It comes amid growing concerns about dairy imports already plaguing local producers who were whacked by a plunge in prices last year.
Attendees at yesterday’s event hosted also heard how the industry was recovering after last year’s shock price slump that sent many producers to the wall. Initiatives from The Gardiner Dairy Foundation, which included the Taking Stock program were credited with helping farmers keep their heads above water.
Gardiner chief executive Mary Harney said the availability of technology for the Australian agriculture industry remained a thrilling prospect.
“Emerging and new technologies will provide expansive benefits to the industry, its dedicated farmers, manufacturers and supply chain partners, with positive flow-on effects to local communities,’’ she said.