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Farmers regularly battle the challenges of pests and weeds, creating a huge industry for the corporations creating herbicides and industrial weed killers. But that industry is facing one of its biggest challengers yet: technology.

Using artificial intelligence, a weedkilling robot in Switzerland can scan for weeds and zap them with weed killer much more efficiently than traditional methods. Although the robot is still in the testing phase, though, it faces opposition from the multibillion-dollar industry it threatens to disrupt. Herbicide sales make up nearly half of all pesticide sales, bringing in $26 billion each year.

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Rick Huckstep, writing at The Digital Insurer, writes about a recent insurance market event he attended in London, attended by plenty of underwriters and brokers.

Talk eventually turned to an article that Huckstep had written about artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data. He told his colleagues that upwards of 80% of insurance underwriting would soon be handled in an automated fashion.

Then, Huckstep writes, "Sitting opposite me was a London market broker. He reached inside his jacket pocket, pulled out his pen and said, 'Nothing writes business faster than a Mont Blanc pen!' And he was deadly serious.

Hucklstep goes on to note that this traditional mindset is still fairly prevalent in the insurance industry. However, he notes, "technology is rapidly catching the insurance industry up. It’s just that some in the insurance industry don’t yet realize it!"

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If you have a question, you know you can feed it into a Google search box and get an answer. But new artificial intelligence being developed by Google Research could take that to the next level. Called “Talk to Books,” the tech lets users type in a statement or question, at which point it searches books to find whole sentences that relate to the words you typed.

This may seem like the keyword matching that powers Google’s standard search, but it’s more advanced than that. Talk to Books relies on A.I. for its searches and responses. The system has been fed conversation-like pairs of sentences by the billions. The technology has the sophistication to realize that some words mean the same thing, which allows it to fill in the blanks when you aren’t 100 percent certain what a text originally said.

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