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The AIIRA Writing Contest AI Institute for Resilient Agriculture AIIRA

AI, Agriculture, and the Future of Food

We invite contestants to submit writing that imagines the world in the year 2050 and explores the relationship between humans, technology, and their food: what will food look, taste, and feel like; where will it come from; who will produce and transport it; and how will we access and consume it? The world you bring to light should be believable and interrogate the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the future of agriculture.

Your submission can be fiction or creative non-fiction, but keep in mind that the strongest submissions will use research to support the reality described. In your writing, you can either (1) write a letter describing a meal you have had either recently (nonfiction) or in the year 2050 (fiction) and imagine the technology used to produce that meal (letters may be addressed to persons in the future, such as a great-grandchild, or to persons of the past, such as an old acquaintance or deceased relative); or (2) create a menu or recipe that features various meals and describes the sourcing and production of the ingredients, as if you are a restaurant owner that values transparency.

$4,500 in total prizes: first prize of $2,000; second prize of $1,500; and third prize of $1,000

Criteria:

· Each contestant may only submit once. In instances of collaboration on a submission (for example, an essay with two or more authors), that submission counts as the authors’ only opportunity to win the contest; neither author may submit another entry independently.

· Must be enrolled in an undergraduate program at an accredited university as well as 18 years of age or older to participate in this contest.

· Only United States Citizens or Permanent Residents may participate in this contest.

· Maximum of 3,500 words for both fiction and nonfiction submissions.

· If referencing any sources in your submission, please include a bibliography at the end of your submission (the bibliography will not contribute to the submission’s word count).

· We do allow simultaneous submissions, but please inform us immediately if your submitted work is accepted for publication elsewhere.

· Please ensure all submissions are written in 12 pt. font, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins.

Judging:

Contributions will be judged anonymously by a panel comprising of experts in relevant disciplinary fields and writers. All decisions made by the judges regarding the winners of the contest are final. By submitting, you are agreeing to all contest rules.

Publishing: Winning entries will be published on our website and in AIIRA magazine.

Additional Information:

Questions to consider

Questions that judges are interested to see addressed include, but are not limited to:

  • How can AI be used to maximize crop yields?
  • How can AI mitigate waste in the food industry?
  • How can AI make food production more sustainable?
  • Does the use of AI for food production and transportation pose the potential for any ethical violations, and if so, how can such violations be avoided?
  • How can AI influence the way we enjoy, perceive, and consume food?

A Note on Genre:

  • Fiction: if a contestant chooses to submit fiction, they have the freedom to write in a more speculative space or in a futuristic setting, as long as that setting does not rely on miracles and is based on present projections for the development of society.
  • Creative Nonfiction: judges are interested in reading submissions of personal essay, food essay, or epistolary prose, as long as the work is nuanced and fits the requirements and structure (letter, menu, or recipe) of the aforementioned prompt.
  • Menu and recipe submissions of both the fiction and nonfiction variety should replicate the structure of actual menus and recipes but may allow space for extended narrative prose between menu items or steps in the recipe.

About AIIRA:

The AI Institute for Resilient Agriculture (AIIRA) strives to develop AI systems capable of managing and predicting plant growth and health in order to engage in more sustainable and productive agricultural endeavors. The hope is that regular incorporation of AI into agriculture will result in more sustainability, better land and resource conservation, greater food production, and many other benefits. However, successfully incorporating innovations into the fields of agriculture and agronomics requires advances in AI technology as well as making education on AI more available to the public. Therefore, AIIRA is proud to announce its first ever writing contest, focused on the influence of AI in the agricultural and agronomic sciences. The goals for this writing contest include:

  • Engaging the public in discussions and speculations on AI technology and its effects on society
  • Encouraging undergraduates to research AI and gain a basic familiarity with its potential
  • Inspiring undergraduates to express themselves creatively through writing
  • Provoking nuanced thought about AI, agriculture, and STEM.

Quick Links to Open Calls:

Letters Exploring Technology and Food Free

Open

Closes on Saturday, December 31, 2022 11:59 PM EST (in 32 days)

AIIRA is looking for letters and epistolary prose exploring the relationship between technology, humans, and their food. These letters may be either fiction or nonfiction. If writing a fictional letter, you should imagine a meal you might have in the year 2050 and describe the technology used to produce, transport, and prepare that meal. Although you may speculate on the technology that may exist in thirty or so years, you should conduct research to understand the trajectory of current technology so that the future you imagine is relatively reasonable.

If writing a nonfiction letter, you should reflect on a meal you've actually consumed recently and describe the technology that likely contributed to producing, transporting, and preparing that meal. Stronger submissions will connect their descriptions to contemporary research and may even discuss ethical dilemmas.

Letters, both fiction and nonfiction, should be addressed either to a) a person in the distant future, such as a great-grandchild or b) a person from the distant past, such as an old acquaintance, a deceased relative, or a historical figure. Letters may not exceed 3,500 words.

Narrative Menus and Recipes Free

Open

Closes on Saturday, December 31, 2022 11:59 PM EST (in 32 days)

Imagine you are a restaurant owner that values transparency. Create either a menu or a recipe that features various meals/dishes and that describes the sourcing and production of ingredients. What technology was involved in producing the food? Was the food sustainably sourced? Were there any ethical dilemmas involved in producing the ingredients that should be disclosed? Who was responsible for collecting the ingredients?

Please see our website (https://aiira.iastate.edu/writingcontest/) for examples of narrative menus and recipes.

Submissions should not exceed 3,500 words in length.