Smartphones get AI Help to Diagnose Plant Diseases

Article By : Max Maxfield

Whoever creates an AI-based smartphone app that can diagnose plant diseases and recommend solutions could potentially make a lot of money.

Some time ago, I was reading about trials that are being performed with regard to using an artificial intelligence (AI) app on a smartphone to diagnose skin cancer in humans. The idea is that you launch the app, which activates the phone's camera. You then point the camera at whatever blemish is causing you concern. The AI tells you what it thinks is the problem and offers appropriate advice, which might range from "You should wash more often" to "Call your dermatologist NOW!"

Personally, I think this is a wonderful idea. The simple act of trying to arrange an appointment with a dermatologist can be incredibly frustrating, and the visit itself is time-consuming and costs money. We all worry about the occasional bump, botch, or spot, and the ability to pre-screen the little scamps quickly and efficiently in the comfort of one's own home is not without its attractions.

The reason I mention this here is that much the same is true of plants. My wife (Gina the Gorgeous) loves gardening. Our flowerbeds are ablaze with color, while our front and back porches are festooned with flowers. Having said this, I cannot tell you how many times Gina has come to me brandishing a distressed leaf or a petal saying, "What do you think is causing this?"

Not what you want to see

Needless to say, the main thing I'm thinking is, "Please remove that sad looking thing from under my nose," closely followed by, "Do I look like I have a clue?"

Sometimes we can track the problem down on the internet. Alternatively, there's a place called Bennett Nurseries about 20 miles from where we live. The owner, George Bennett, is like a walking encyclopedia when it comes to growing plants and their potential problems.

However, it's not always convenient to drive 20 miles, especially if a few minutes after we return, Gina bounds into the room flourishing a new leaf while exclaiming, "And what about this?" (I've lost many a weekend in this way.)

There are a lot of people in the same position as us. All of which got me to thinking that whoever creates an AI-based smartphone app that can diagnose plant diseases and recommend appropriate solutions could potentially make a lot of money. What say you? Even if you don’t garden yourself, would having access to such an app be beneficial with regard to keeping a smile on your loved one's face?

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