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ALPHABET (GOOGLE'S PARENT) EXITS ITS AG AI DEVELOPER BUSINESS UNIT MINERAL
Mineral


Source: blog by Elliott Grant, Mineral Founder/CEO

Agriculture is one of humanity's most critical endeavors - feeding us all, employing 800 million people worldwide, and a possible sink for carbon at a huge scale. Thomas Jefferson called it "our wisest pursuit." Modern agricultural practices, however, are contributing to climate change, driving food waste, and putting existential pressure on farmers. Mineral set out to apply the transformative power of AI to help make agriculture more sustainable, and to increase its resilience to climate change. Today, we are sharing a step towards achieving this goal: we are transferring our technology out to the agriculture ecosystem to maximize the impact of bringing our AI to agriculture.

Mineral will no longer be an Alphabet company, and our technology will live on inside of leading agribusinesses where they can have maximum impact.

Since its inception, the Mineral team rapidly experimented alongside forward-thinking companies up and down the food supply chain. We knew that we were tackling a systemic problem - so we worked with partners from day one. We built robots that could inspect every plant in a field - with the goals of accelerating the discovery of climate-smart crops, unlocking plant-level treatment, and reimagining the role of farm equipment. We applied the most recent breakthroughs in AI and generative AI to help our partners tackle the urgent challenges of reducing food waste, improving forecasting, and collecting higher quality data.

Our mission has always been to make a meaningful, positive difference to the global food system - which we knew was an audacious, high-risk undertaking - so we would regularly ask ourselves: "is this the best way to maximize impact?" and "are we reaching the diversity of farmers we want to, worldwide?" We've noted before that we've been looking for new and innovative partnerships that can transcend traditional approaches. As a result, earlier this year, we decided to rethink Mineral's structure and our approach to achieving a positive impact for the greatest number of farmers.

Mineral had partnered closely with Driscoll's - the world's leading berry company - to develop AI tools to improve crop phenotyping, better forecast yields, optimize quality inspections, and reduce food waste in the supply chain. Some of the technologies we developed have now been transferred to Driscoll's and will be integrated into their systems to help achieve their sustainability ambitions. Driscoll's is the first agribusiness to receive Mineral technology, and is a first step towards ensuring that our breakthrough technologies achieve the greatest impact.

In soil science, mineralization is the process by which the nutrients in organic matter are released in a form that makes them available to the plants around them. I think this is a fitting metaphor for the new chapter of Mineral - as our technologies will be mobilized into the agriculture ecosystem, with the goal of making it more sustainable, and more resilient.


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