Saving the bees isn’t the same as saving the planet

By Amanda Little

16 Dec 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

A Bloomberg columnist uses amazing tech advances to argue that while innovations are great, "the more ingenious our adaptation tools, the more likely we are to avoid mitigating the core issues."

When honeybees check into the Beewise "five-star hotel," they don't want to check out. A robotic arm attends to their every need. Hungry, sick or hot? Artificial intelligence software tells the robot to administer nutrients or antibiotics, to harvest honey or crank up the AC inside the high-tech hive. The intensive care routine is designed to maximize the bees' chance of survival and success against incredible odds, so they can continue to pollinate billions of acres of crops each year despite an overheating planet.

For decades, these crucial insects, which pollinate more than 75% of all fruits, vegetables and nuts cultivated worldwide, have been succumbing to severe human-caused stressors, including toxic pesticides, new diseases, and increasing heat. Beewise, a 4-year-old start-up based in Oakland, California, offers a particularly inspiring example of how robotics and AI might radically slow and even reverse the global honeybee die-off.

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