PIPA Founder, Ilias Tagkopoulos Ph.D., Discusses AI’s Role in Food Systems on Unfold Podcast by UC Davis

In the latest episode of the Unfold podcast, by the UC Davis Office of Research, our founder, Ilias Tagkopoulos Ph.D., along with food, nutrition and agriculture industry experts —Dan Vincent, Christine Diepenbrock, Mason Earles, Christopher Simmons, and Danielle Lemay—explore the dynamic intersection of artificial intelligence and food systems. Their collective expertise illuminated the transformative potential of AI in reshaping how we grow, distribute, and consume food. From the heart of AIFS and UC Davis, Tagkopoulos shares innovative solutions to address the challenges facing our global food supply, people, and planet.

In the podcast, hosts Andy Fell and Amy Quinton highlight the example of the not-so-humble tomato—a crop that affects environmental sustainability and supports consumer health. With approximately 13 million tons of tomatoes harvested annually, even minor losses have profound implications throughout the food supply chain. Drawing from his scientific background, Tagkopoulos emphasized the role of AI in optimizing efficiency and minimizing waste, echoing the sentiments of Dan Vincent, former CEO of a prominent cannery.

At the core of AI’s transformative potential lies robust data analysis. Tagkopoulos highlighted the complexity of the food system, emphasizing the necessity for sophisticated data analytics to inform strategic decision-making. As he highlighted, artificial intelligence is a powerful tool for navigating this complexity, offering unparalleled insights to optimize food production, distribution, and consumption.

During the insightful discussion and follow-up post, the two covered: how big data informs decision-making and ways it can bolster ag-tech and how AI is creating a paradigm shift across the food system value chain, from plant breeding optimization, to enhanced nutrition, and food waste reduction.

As Tagkopoulos stated,
“AI holds the promise of making agriculture more efficient and sustainable, yielding healthier food with less impact on the planet.”
However, he emphasized that realizing this promise requires a concerted effort to ensure that AI is deployed ethically, responsibly, and equitably.

Ready to delve deeper into the intersection of AI and food systems?

Listen to the full episode of the Unfold podcast to gain insights and discover the transformative potential of AI in shaping the future of food.

Listen to the podcast and read the analysis here.

Also available on:
Apple podcast

In this episode:

  • Ilias Tagkopoulos Ph.D., director of the Artificial Intelligence Institute for Next Generation Food Systems at UC Davis
  • Christine Diepenbrock, assistant professor, Department of Plant Sciences
  • Mason Earles, assistant professor, Departments of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and Viticulture and Enology
  • Christopher Simmons, professor and chair, Department of Food Science and Technology
  • Danielle Lemay, associate adjunct professor, Department of Nutrition and USDA-ARS Western Health Nutrition Research Center
  • Dan Vincent, former president and CEO of Pacific Coast Producers
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