Artificial Intelligence is everywhere you look: from self-driving cars to voice-activated home assistants, we welcome automation into our lives in more ways than one. We’ve also integrated artificial intelligence into new ways of doing business, using data as a powerful industry driver to more effectively use resources and keep costs low. So, let’s talk about artificial intelligence in cannabis.
When it comes to cannabis, artificial intelligence is already bringing these same benefits to the industry in exciting ways. When legalization arrived in Ontario, suppliers faced numerous challenges at every link in the supply chain that drove customers to the black market that couldn’t keep pace with demand. One year later, a continued lack of physical retail locations, below average product, and bureaucratic delays have helped drive increases in black market sales.
It’s a great example of a business and marketing problem that using artificial intelligence could have helped solve early on. Efficiency — or “streamlining” as it’s often called — is the golden egg artificial intelligence produces. Below are several best in class examples of firms that use AI-based solutions at every level of their business, from crop production and shipping logistics to customer service.
- As you might expect growing plants not only takes time and patience but also generates vast amounts of data, which can later be used to set clearly defined parameters by which the next crop will grow. This company is one of many that specializes in exactly this type of technology: through custom designed automation that tracks growth rate throughout the vegetatie state, they have the ability to forecast growers’ yield productions as much as a month in advance with remarkable precision.
- AI is having a tremendously positive impact on the agricultural industry, which is traditionally lagged behind in the adoption of innovative technologies. Growing companies now use AI to monitor plant health and conduct routine maintenance with Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices installed in their greenhouses. They can automatically control everything including light, temperature, humidity and pH levels predetermined by hundreds of data variables for their crops, making better use of natural resources and repeating the process. IoT advancements simplify production and keep cannabis cultivation costs low.
- Even with every aspect of the environment managed technologically, it’s best to prepare for every eventuality. Sick plants are every grower’s nightmare, which is why this project is dedicated to creating a specialized database for diagnosis. By uploading photos of both sick and healthy plants, the software uses machine learning techniques to compare your photos with sick and healthy plants in it’s database. And while it may be small in scale, it’s a tool that will theoretically only become more and more accurate the more that people use it.
- Ever wonder what a personally tailored strain of cannabis could do for you? Open-source drug discovery could potentially be the key to growing custom plants tweaked to exact specifications. Scientists can discover new strains of cannabis based on their different compound properties and chemical families using artificial intelligence. By growing to exact specifications they can grow cannabis capable of treating your unique ailments and symptoms. They can even cultivate consistent crops depending on what strains are their best-sellers for significant ROI benefits.
- Making accurate market forecasts using AI could be one of the best digital tools in a company’s arsenal. Predicting fluctuations in stock changes and identifying particular patterns across the market can all be used to make wiser investment decisions, guiding the company as a whole to succeed.
- Stakeholders are already aware of the benefits. The same tools for managing market risk can also be leveraged by marijuana stakeholders. Machine learning algorithms using compliance data can highlight areas of risk to avoid. It’s even possible to predict changes in stock market headwinds by data mining social media mentions of #marijuana.
The Science Of Service
- Big data plays a significant role in providing a deep dive into branding, sales, and marketing data for companies in order for them to make informed decisions. But amassing and processing all of that information can be a monumental task. That’s where specialized marketing analytics companies come in: by providing data science services that are specific to the cannabis industry, they’ve quickly become vital to providing real-time insights to wholesale growers and to advertisers seeking to market to them
- If a genetically modified strain isn’t the right plant for you, artificial intelligence can also be used to search a vast database of cannabis research, with new studies added all the time. How does it work? By aggregating and correlating the latest peer-reviewed medical journals and research studies relevant to your symptoms, this application will recommend ideal strains for which it has found a match. It’ll even show you the closest place to pick up your prescription.
- AI for the retail sector is all about personalization, and so it makes sense for companies to extend these beneficial aspects directly to in-market consumers. It’s the application of advanced data analytics right down to the point of purchase. Personalizing their ecommerce experience not only helps drive sales but can provide solutions for search, delivery and product recommendations as well, increasing the volume of conversions and the likelihood of customers to return for a bespoke shopping experience.
- You’ve probably dealt with a company chatbot at least once in the past year or two. If one of them was created by a marijuana company, chances are you may have encountered a digital version of an extremely knowledgeable budtender. Like personalized stores, these bots are your personal budtender. They have the ability to cross-reference test results with scientific trial data and user-generated experiences for an enhanced customer service experience that, using machine learning, is guaranteed to get better each time new research is released.
By now you can guess that artificial intelligence, machine learning, data mining and IoT are the gold standard when it comes to some of the world’s biggest companies. As more of the cannabis industry’s biggest leaders work to adopt these technologies, they can expect to gain a serious advantage over their competitors. I for one welcome our new computerized machine overlords — just as long as they continue to make smashing recommendations.