Aspire Food Group is currently constructing the world’s largest, fully automated cricket production and processing facility (in London (ON), Canada). With the use of artificial intelligence developed by DarwinAI, Aspire will be able to optimize yield and provide real-time insights into conditions and plant operations. The production of this quality protein at scale using AI addresses several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals while accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable ingredients and materials through insect technology. The UN Sustainable Development Goals impacted by this solution are as follows: SDG2, SDG3, SDG9, SDG12, SDG13 & SDG17.
As announced in the previous two articles, the IRCAI Scientific Program Committees and the IRCAI Scientific Journal Editorial Board have completed their review of the Global Top 100 project submissions. 10 solutions were deemed “outstanding projects” based on their centrality of AI, the potential impact on relevant SDG(s), demonstration of potential in completed work (either proof of concept or completed research paper), and ethical design. The aim of this article is to introduce the project to relevant stakeholders and the broader public and to make the voices of the Aspire Food Group and DarwinAI heard on the world stage.
While technology is incessantly evolving to meet the demands of a growing world population, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) emphasizes that “there are worrying global trends in malnutrition”, calling for “new ways of thinking about hunger and food insecurity”. Currently, predominant livestock-based protein production processes (e.g. cattle) come with a high production of greenhouse gasses and require large amounts of water, land, and feed for the livestock. Acknowledging that our planet’s resources for protein production are shrinking, the team behind this project aims to accelerate the scalability of the much needed protein source with their novel application of advanced manufacturing approaches to high-quality insect-based protein.
The project is a joint effort by Aspire Food Group and Darwin AI. Aspire Food Group is the world-leading producer and processor of crickets and cricket waste into nutritional ingredients. Currently building the “densest cricket production facility in the world”, Aspire developed a (proprietary) innovative process that aims to produce a high-quality protein with a low impact on the planet’s resources, by making use of advanced automation, IoT-enabled data accumulation, and machine learning in a “climate-controlled, indoor vertical agriculture facility”. Meanwhile, DarwinAI contributes to the project with its patented explainability technology which “enables human-in-the-loop decision making in AI systems”. Featuring in CB Insights’ annual list of the 100 most promising AI companies in the world (AI100), DarwinAI’s deep learning solution is capable of analyzing “more than 50 input parameters to unearth insights that can improve more than 15 output parameters, creating a loop that changes facility conditions to produce healthy crickets and maximize facility yields while minimizing costs”.