h a l f b a k e r y
Not so much a thought experiment as a single neuron misfire.
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Robotic calf eliminates the need for herding and milking.
Dairy farming is a tricky business. There's a lot of animal management involved, and while cows have arguably strayed a long way from their undomesticated roots to be considered natural, the whole heading them together, and taking them to the milking shed is a little unnatural. So how about this: robotic
One of the key problems involved in about artificial intelligence and vision is that the world is a complicated place. There's tricky things like curb stones, bollards and lamp posts. But a green field full of monochrome cows - what could be simpler? The robots could trundle around, and sniff out udders, before collecting (and what the hell - pasteurising) the milk in their robotic bellies (four of them?). Then they could take them to some central holding area (what the hell - another robot), and this could leave the field, and bring the milk to the holding tanks.
The cows would be happier, because they wouldn't have to get shifted about so much, and the whole milking process would feel more natural. Who knows - perhaps the milk would taste better, without so much adrenalin in it.
Autonomous Robotic Milking Stations
Baked. The cows go to be milked when they feel like it; total output is boosted. [Knife Knut, Jan 23 2005]
||This might work better with immobile, hygienic milking stations spread out for cows to queue up, be registered and automatically milked as is done by modern milk farmers centrally.
||I could be wrong but I don't think a cow will normally nurse a calf if it isn't their own. You'd probably have to synthesize the scent of their own baby for this to work, and I can see the cost of milk going through the roof.