Xiaowei Wang's Blockchain Chicken Farm in Guardian

20 Oct, 2020

Xiaowei Wang's Blockchain Chicken Farm in Guardian

Xiaowei Wang's book, Blockchain Chicken Farm: And Other Stories of Tech in China's Countryside (FSG, 2020), an original and probing look into innovation, connectivity, and collaboration in the digitized rural world, just launched recently and it has been featured in Guardian. This article gives an edited extract of the book, with introduction in the background, and the development of the storyline.

The article begins with Xiaowei Wang's visit to several pig farm in Guangzhou, China. As Chinese demand for pork grows and grows, traditional small-scale farms are being replaced by vast, AI-assisted operations that feel more like smartphone factories than bucolic countryside havens.

From the article:

Industrial scale is where things were headed anyway, said Li, reflecting a broader trend – globally, more than 90% of farmed animals live on industrial farms. Two-thirds of China’s pork production is now carried out by large corporations, which are determined to do their patriotic duty by supporting China’s “pork miracle” through cost-cutting and technological magic.

The logic behind all this innovation is striking. The demand for pork drives the industrialised farming of pigs, which increases disease transmission. The constant emergence of diseases drives the implementation of new technologies such as AI pork farming. These technologies go on to make pork cheap, driving even more availability and demand, as people start to believe pork is a necessary part of their diet. And so the cycle continues. As AI solves certain problems, others emerge.

To read more, please visit here.

Interested in learning more? Hear Xiaowei Wang in conversation with An Xiao Mina on Monday, November 16, from 12:30-2pm in our Commons Conversations! More details here!