Dealing with the game-changing technologies of Agriculture 4.0 : How do we manage diversity and responsibility in food system transition pathways?

Klerkx, Laurens; Rose, David


Agriculture 4.0 is comprised of different already operational or developing technologies such as robotics, nanotechnology, synthetic protein, cellular agriculture, gene editing technology, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and machine learning, which may have pervasive effects on future agriculture and food systems and major transformative potential. These technologies underpin con­cepts such as ver­ti­cal farm­ing and food systems, dig­i­tal agri­cul­ture, bioe­con­omy, cir­cu­lar agri­cul­ture, and aquapon­ics. In this perspective paper, we argue that more attention is needed for the inclusion and exclusion effects of Agriculture 4.0 technologies, and for reflection on how they relate to diverse transition pathways towards sustainable agricultural and food systems driven by mission-oriented innovation systems. This would require processes of responsible innovation, anticipating the potential impacts of Agriculture 4.0 through inclusive processes, and reflecting on and being responsive to emerging effects and where needed adjusting the direction and course of transition pathways.