Review: Anticipating alternative trajectories for responsible Agriculture 4.0 innovation in livestock systems

C.R. Eastwood, J.P. Edwards, J.A. Turner
2021 Animal  
Technological change has been a constant feature of livestock systems leading to the third agricultural 'green' revolution of the mid-20th century. Digital technologies are now leading us into the fourth agricultural revolution, where sustainable food production is supported by technologies that collect data useful for farm and supply chain performance improvement, along with task automation and compliance. However, the potential benefits of digital agricultural futures are uncertain and
more » ... by unrealized expectations of previous innovations. The aims of this paper are to articulate current trends in technology and livestock systems and anticipate future trajectories for Agriculture 4.0 in relation to meeting sustainability and animal welfare outcomes for livestock systems. We use a 'Futures Triangle' approach to review the role of technology in livestock systems. The main findings are that previous work envisioning technological livestock futures have favoured pull of the future factors (techno-optimists) or weight of the past (techno-pessimists), rather than a balance of pull, push and weighting factors. Responsible Agriculture 4.0 innovation requires public-private collaboration of innovation system stakeholders, including policy makers, farmers, consumers, as well as technology developers, to enable development of transition pathways from a systems perspective. The use of responsible innovation processes, including anticipation on alternative futures, should also be built into innovation processes to support critical reflection on technological trajectories and related innovation system consequences, both desirable and undesirable.
doi:10.1016/j.animal.2021.100296 pmid:34246598 fatcat:hrbwib54afgl5f5floxni2pxra