Editorial

Why do we feel so threatened by innovation?

Luigi Caricato

There is a European oil producer, the nationality of whom I choose to conceal, who has a name for bottling and selling excellent extra virgin olive oil. Recently this person tweeted a message that gives us pause for thought.

I quote the tweet as it was posted, without revealing the name of the producer. I have chosen to do so because I don’t think he makes a very good impression. I want to shield him from criticism or mockery, but in all honesty, I can only feel sorry for someone who expresses such ultraconservative views.

"The idea of using robots to tend olive groves is becoming more and more real... and the prospect doesn’t fill me with joy.”

I’ll be honest. Only a few days have passed since the dawn of the new year, and I find myself wondering how a relatively young person can be so ferociously opposed to innovation.

I bless the day when robotics, already a concrete reality in so many sectors, will bring its benefits to agriculture. We should never be afraid of innovation, but instead, look forward to it with great trepidation.

In Italy in particular, many are the problems plaguing agriculture, the most serious of which are the high production costs and lack of qualified labour. Technologically advanced solutions might provide the answer to the needs of a sector lacking even the smallest hint of curiosity or inclination to look forwards, and be in step with the times.

I wanted to bid 2016 goodbye by encouraging my acquaintances to look up to the future and play an active role in what is to come. What is the purpose, on the other hand, of looking back and being afraid of the future?

The case I highlighted at the beginning of this article is not the only one, but what is really surprising is that the author of this tweet is a cultured person, not some farmer of the old guard.

Would it make any sense, nowadays, to use a scythe to harvest wheat, like in bygone days? Today, we accept combine harvesters in our life, because they are the means to lighten the heavy work burden of farmers. So why is it so difficult to accept the idea of progress in our future?

Luigi Caricato

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