Dr Dudley and colleagues at NPL along with agricultural firm Vegetable Harvesting Systems (VHS) are working on robots that are as fast as humans at working out if a cauliflower is ready to be picked.
One prototype has a multi-axis arm and the other is equipped with a blade that simply cuts and gathers. Field trials of both are being carried out on a farm in Cambridgeshire.
I see nothing else than the promise of our final liberation from "the idiocy of rural life."
Let's revisit that remarkable passage in the greatest love poem of the 19th century, The Communist Manifesto:
The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life.
As Deasy says in Ulysses: "Can you feel that?... Can you?"