I spent most of a Monday siting on a tractor, reading a book on my phone, while the tractor downloaded updates that make it function as it was supposed to.... In the end a service man had to replace a doodad.
But I got a glimpse of the struggle to maintain control of the technology we use and how close we are to owning equipment that does not function without the purchase and/or approval of whoever owns the technology that makes it function.
How soon will we be using a tractor with thousands of hours on it that won't function because the technology is no longer supported? Or the replacement technology is not affordable? or available?
Will we see a time when we rent the use of equipment by the season as we do seed technology?
Doesn't that extroardinary cost look even more expensive with those thoughts in mind?
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John Deere already says you "license" but do not own the software in their tractors. So you can't legally chip the machine.
It's hard for me to believe that people who have access to your information will not use it for their own purposes if it is to their advantage.
As you point out, it is getting harder and harder to own software. Microsoft is leading the trend to charging a subscription on an annual or other basis for using software, and you may not even be able to put it on your machine but have to use it from the cloud (if you can reach the cloud).
As you generate more and more information, there is more and more incentive for others to want to have access to it for regulatory or business reasons. Farmers can expect to be sued for access to records just as car owners can be required to give access to the history stored in their car memories.
If one looks at the history of aviation, one sees that now airliners can land under some circumstances in zero visibliity with no human at the controls. Technology is getting more affordable and we have all seen instances where capital is preferred over labor. The classic example is how long it took large round balers to overtake small square balers in making hay.
Your predictions are spot on in my opinion.
When there is enough information so that the woman at a desk in Chicago knows as much about your side hill seep, clay knob, glacial till and wetland as you do, it may be only money and technology that keep her from watching her robot machinery plant, fertilize and harvest, all the while respecting your gravestone on the peak of that nice ridge you enjoy resting on.
SW, this subject is something I have been thinking for a while now. We have point row shut offs on our planter. For our odd shaped fields and hills they are a god send. Also variable rate is good, but other than that I'm getting less sold on the idea that all technology is necessary.. Does having a piece of equipment sending data to an i pad or even a third party in real time make that much of difference in the end? I'm not against technology but with margins where they are now it MUST pay for itself not just be a really cool toy. My 1980 Case 2390 I just bought has the same 160 hp that I need to pull the planter as the 15 year old AGCO I just sold had. May not be as comfortable but at least when it breaks down I have a reasonable chance of repairing it myself vs calling the dealer and saying it wont move and there is an error code flashing. Also now have no payment either.
SW, when all you bigshots have driverless tractors, I`m gonna start a new niche market that my corn and beans were grown by a farmer that was actually on the tractor seat and i`ll command a tidy premium.
But, this technology will get better and cheaper..kind of like power windows in a pickup are now a necessity, I don`t even know if you could get crank windows anymore.
Alot of the real real Bigshots lease their machinery anyway so when the problems crop up, it`s someone elses problem. Even like my rinky dink skidloader, the insturment panel got a short and it was dead in the water, I had to have the service man out to put in a new one. So, much safety crap you can`t wire around it, parking brake light has to be off, you have to be in the seat with seatbelt light off or it`s no go. By the time you do all that crap, the hogs are getting out of the pen
BA, I hope you get a bundle for your bonus.
I am not sure I am looking forward to that...... somehow I think it will be cheaper to hire labor in ________ country than pay the bill to have the robots do the work...
I just can't imagine getting all warm and fuzzy about watching a robotic tractor work. But someone else will.......?
I just hope somebody doesn't invent a robotic accountant..
sw, I was thinking about this just yesterday. My BIL who owned a dealership (passed away last year) once said, "technology is great when it works." I would just love to up-grade my larger tractor to a full power-shift before I quit farming but the o'l gal just keeps running. Engine has been over-hauled, had it re-painted, new cab kit and so on and I'm refusing to "trade up" because I do not want the trouble and expense that may come with the newer models. I have a newer mid-sized tractor that has some electrical problem that I have spent thousands on and still not fully fixed. Fixing technical problems in a dealer's shop can get expensive if not covered. Even the "doodad's" can cost a lot. Paying for technical support and extended warranty when buying a newer tractor will be costly but maybe necessary, or rent, or stay with older tractors.
westeria80, I like your approach with an older tractor, yet putting technology where it pays for you, your row-shut offs on your planter. I have waisted a lot of seed over the years planting small contoured fields.
16* with about a 3inch snow cover here. We signed and paid our income taxes today. I'm sure it was spent long ago.
Sorry I haven't gotten by to visit much lately. Mostly mobile, with short office stints to pay a bill or write payroll.
This thread is really brilliant...and points out that everything is about intellectual property now. Many of the standby software products have moved to annual subscriptions...so, yes, you can get outdated and miss an update and be dead in the water, for bookwork and recordkeeping.
Mike has been doing battle for part of last haying season with a baler monitor. If there is anything more frustrating that a gremlin in a machine, I cannot imagine what it could be.
We deal with proprietary genetics in pigs as a matter of course. That's where the money is at....
What is scary is that so many have gotten comfortable with someone else owning the intelectual "property" and just telling them what to think.. and do.
How else could the atrocities we see happen..
But This tractor needs a download nudge from some software manager somewhere to shift properly., I can't imagine it being one that gets restored in 50 years.......... But i get to make all the payments.... hoooorayyy...
It is wonderful technology, I just want to feel like it is mine after the last payment...
I suppose it goes back to the EMP issue, and nothing with electronics embedded being able to operate...just worse. That's when our Super A and daughter's equines will put us in the catbird seat, ya think?