Will Future Farmers Have to Go to the Field? A Preview of AgEx Conference \u201915 looks at society as a whole, including agriculture,\u00a0is experiencing a trend toward\u00a0the use of more autonomous machines\u00a0that can communicate amongst themselves and\u00a0optimize their own activity using \u201cbig data\u201d analytics.That might sound like a whole lot of high-level tech lingo, but it raises\u00a0serious questions for farmers on the ground: will there come a day when farmers no longer have to physically go out to the field or pasture? Will \u201cfarmers\u201d simply sit in front of a dashboard that monitors activity in a food-producing operation?Nik BadmintonI\u2019m so excited about that. The future is going to be about working smarter, not harder in the future for all kinds of operations on the farm.…says Nik Badminton, a Vancouver-based futurist and columnist who focuses on\u00a0how technology impacts workplaces and the economy.Robots, implantables, open data, virtual reality, vertical farming \u2014 these are some of the topics Badminton will be discussing at the Agricultural Excellence Conference in Regina November 25-27.As he explains in the interview below, he sees many of these innovations having a major impact in the farming community.For example, the term \u201cInternet of Things\u201d was first used a few years ago to describe how household and retail machines \u2014 TVs, computers, thermostats, cars and so on \u2014 are designed to communicate with each other and process information to optimize themselves while being monitored centrally. Badminton uses the term \u201cInternet of Agricultural Things\u201d to describe what he sees developing in the world of agriculture, with increased use of sensors and automation.\u201cSensors in the field, sensors on cattle, even moving toward the ideas of vertical farming, home farming, the Internet of Things means you don\u2019t have to be there tending day in, day out. You can actually optimize these things from afar,\u201d he explains. \u201cIt means there\u2019s going to be something really exciting in the future around being very autonomous and small groups of people running very large operations.\u201dThat sounds both scary and exciting. Will farmers lose control?\u00a0How can farms\u00a0position themselves to use this technology to their benefit? Badminton shares his perspective:***Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe.\u00a0Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.