March 17, 2018  | Edge Canopy

Markab Algedi

 

It’s 6:20 am, on a hazy morning in San Luis Obispo County, California. The year is 2025.

A gentle mist of Glyphosate decorates the eerie scene, as robotic bees provided by Wal-Mart pollinate avocado flowers to produce the fruit being purchased by the corporation: a fruit that is now very different from the original product.

Bees are not completely extinct yet, but they might as well be. Because big corporations don’t want to see a 3/4 decrease in crop yields with the declining bee populations, they decided to simply replace them with robotic bees. Like a drug, the use of robotic bees instead of using limited resources to try and save the dying bees is the preferred option for farmers both big and small.

The above text was a work of fiction: but that’s what it might look like on an avocado farm in 2025.

This is not fiction: recently Wal-Mart filed a patent for robotic bees. They aren’t the only people to try and develop them in recent years.

The autonomous, robotic bee replacements would pollinate crops just like bees, but at the mercy of corporations who own them and know how to produce them. They would be like little drones, transporting pollen from plant to plant, utilizing cameras and sensors to detect the location of plants and flowers.

The patent filing was first reported by CB Insights. Alongside 5 other patents for farming drones this one was spotted. One drone found in the patents could monitor the health of crops, and another could identify pests.

According to Science Alert:

“In recent years, scientists have searched for solutions to the decline of honeybees, which pollinate nearly one-third of the food we eat and are dying at unprecedented rates largely because of a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder. (In 2017, however, these deaths declined from the year prior.)

Harvard University researchers introduced the first RoboBees in 2013. At the time, the bee-size robots could only fly and hover midair when tethered to a power source, but they have advanced since then.

Today, the RoboBees can also stick to surfaces, swim underwater, and dive in and out of water.”

If the idea is not enticing to the imagination, this could be considered a particularly scary idea to the common people, not only for the fact that bees could really become extinct and be replaced with robotic pollinators that are controlled by corporations who just want to turn a profit.

A power differential between the corporations who wield this technology and the regular people who live paycheck to paycheck would be enormous.

This technology could actually create a vicious incentive for those who wield it, to destroy the remaining pollinators and ensure that people require their technology.

In fact, the people who are killing the bees can be easily identified as corporations who make bee massacring pesticides, like Monsanto-Bayer, or DOW-Du Pont. Notice how this article is using dashes to merge the titles of those companies? That’s because those corporations are in the process of merging, at least Monsanto-Bayer is and DOW-Du Pont have already fully merged. Oh yeah, and Syngenta is merging with the Chinese government owned mega corporation ChemChina.

So does Wal-Mart work with Monsanto-Bayer, or DOW- Du Pont? Yes of course, particularly Walmart and Monsanto.

With many of the world’s biggest biotech and agrichemical corporations merging into even greater forces, it’s important to recognize the power differential that could be exploited between those corporations and the common people.

We need to pay attention to the patents that these corporations acquire, and the partnerships that corporations acquiring these patents make with the world’s most powerful entities.

 

(Image credit: qz)


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