ACDC News – Issue 20-10

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“Artificial intelligence and the future of humans”

As use of artificial intelligence (AI) continues to spread, will people be better off than they are today? To address that question, the Pew Research Center recently used a survey among 979 technology pioneers, innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers, and activists. Responses suggested that most of those experts, whether optimistic or not, expressed concerns about the long-term impact of AI on the essential elements of being human.

You can review their concerns and suggested solutions in the research report here. They involve and speak to the future of all who are engaged in human interactions related to agriculture.

Impact of socially-engaged theater across communities

That is the title of an article addressing the question of how diverse audiences from rural and metropolitan areas respond to powerful yet provocative material through engaged theatre. It was published in the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. Researcher Harrison Long analyzed the impact of a theatre performance which adapted Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as interpreted by ex-slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. An ensemble from Kennesaw State University presented it in seven communities, including rural mountain towns.

Long observed in closing: “Socially engaged theatre creates a unique forum for constructive dialogue across communities between students and teachers, between performers and audiences. Wherever we went, “Splittin’ the Raft” prompted productive discussions about race, gender, economic equity, theatre, literature, music, and the social circumstances that inspire socially-engaged works.”

You can read the journal article here.

Whither the love of hunting?

We recently added a 2012 journal article of that title to the ACDC collection. Researchers Kristopher Robison and Daniel Ridenour analyzed several years of survey data on hunting and changes in hunting license acquisitions at the state level. They used the data to test a videophilia hypothesis. Findings indicated that a switch to certain kinds of electronic entertainment and the growth in urban living explained the decline in hunting.

“Unfortunately, revenue declines, animal over-population and an overall disinterest in conservation are probable outcomes of this major shift in recreational pursuits.”

You can read the Human Dimensions of Wildlife article here.

Remembering a special AG Comm leader and ACDC contributor

We honor Dr. K. Robert Kern, a respected agricultural communications leader, at word of his passing early last month. A 31-year member of the Iowa State University faculty, he chaired the ISU Extension Information Service for 17 years, was a professor of journalism and mass communication, and served as president of the American Association of Agricultural College Editors.
Farm-raised in Illinois, he earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois and is recognized as the first agricultural communications graduate here. He put together this combination of interests during the 1940s, before a degree program existed.
Following retirement, he kindly contributed his professional papers to ACDC. Extending from 1950 to 2018, they feature handbooks, workbooks, journal articles, research reports, speeches, commentaries, history manuscripts, correspondence, and other materials of value for future research. In addition, podcasts about his career and international activities in more than 40 countries are part of the “Living Histories” here.







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Pakistani farmers’ use of mobile phones for accessing agricultural information

In this 2019 research report, more than 91 percent of sampled farmers in the Punjab province of Pakistan owned mobile phones. Market information ranked highest among farm-related uses. Major constraints on use included limited aptitude for using mobile phones and lack of awareness of information sources.

You can read the article in Ciência Rural here.

Communicator events approaching

Uncertainties of the COVID-19 health issue continue to prompt flexible event planning. Here are plans of which we are aware, with website addresses you can use to track updates.

September 14 through October 20, 2020
“British Library Food Season 2020.” Online program featuring the culture, history, sustainability, literature, and future of food. Many of the programs during this period are free. Source: Guild of Food Writers, based in the United Kingdom.

November 16-17, 2020 (virtual conference rescheduled from on-site)
“Virtual Summit.” Ag Media Summit 2020 is a gathering of agricultural media and communications professionals. It is hosted by AAEA – The Ag Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council (LPC), and Connectiv Ag Media Council. Information:

November 18-20, 2020 (virtual convention rescheduled from on-site)
“Farm broadcasting – A trusted friend to agriculture.” Annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB).

February 7-8, 2021 (online/virtual symposium rescheduled from on-site)
National Agricultural Communications Symposium (NACS) will feature (1) research or professional papers and (2) research and innovative ideas posters.
Information about papers: Dr. Shuyant Qu at Information about posters: Dr. Annie Specht at

April 12-15, 2021
“Mediterranean Agriculture, Food and Environment.” Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Thessaloniki, Greece.

On speaking skills

We close this issue of ACDC News with honored writer-farmer Wendell Berry’s perspective about the relationship between telling and knowing. It came to our attention in the “Cornerstones” section of Progressive Farmer magazine:

“The ability to speak exactly is intimately related to the ability to know exactly.”

Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

ACDC is a resource for you, so please feel free to invite our help as you search for information. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @ACDCUIUC. And please suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents we might add to this unique and valuable international collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Comm Documentation Center, Room 510, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) – or in electronic format sent to

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