Smart Information Systems and The Environment

AI advancements could harm the environment and the introduction of new technologies brings with it irreversible ecological consequences. An important fact worth mentioning is that electronic waste is expected to reach 52.2 million tons in 2021. Moreover, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) reported in 2015 that 60 to 90 percent of the world’s electronic waste is illegally dumped and that in 2014, an estimated 42 million tons of e-waste were generated. The UN Commission on Human Rights, in resolution 2003/71 recognizes that the protection of the environment and sustainable development can contribute to human well-being and potentially to the enjoyment of human rights, as well as that environmental damage can have potentially negative effects on the enjoyment of some human rights.

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How Data may Improve Farming

This briefing paper describes key insights of the use of Smart Information Systems in agriculture, looking at the Maglis Project of BASF. This project uses data analytics to personalize the exact purchase needs of farmers, leading to cost reductions and improved decision-making and efficiency for the farmer. Maglis demonstrates how agriculture deals with specific ethical concerns, such as accuracy of data, data ownership, privacy and security, and employment concerns.

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Agricultural SIS and Ethics: A Case Study

Approximately 26.5% of the world’s population work in agriculture, which accounts for nearly $3 trillion in global trade (The World Bank 2018). Despite this, it is an industry that needs to grow its production levels by 70%to feed the world’s growing population by 2050 (Schönfeld, Heil and Bittner 2016; Kamilaris, Kartakoullis, and Prenafeta-Boldú 2017). In addition, our current ecological footprint is twice the level that it should be; leaving the agricultural sector with the colossal challenge of producing more food, while reducing their ecological impact (Popa 2011; Wolfert, Sørensen, and Goense 2014).

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