Universidad Politécnica de Madrid Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería
Agronómica, Alimentaria y de Biosistemas

Integrating Artificial Intelligence in Agronomy studies as a challenge

ETSIAAB professor Daniel Palmero discusses how AI can enhance learning and teaching in this article.




The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has provided society with a transformative tool with huge potential. At the same time, however, it generates a certain amount of suspicion in the university community. The adoption of AI in higher education requires a calm reflection on how we can integrate these technologies to strengthen the possibilities of improving the teaching-learning process. But of course, maintaining the critical spirit of the students.


It's not just a matter of operational efficiency but a chance to rethink pedagogy and prepare students for a future inherently connected to digital technology.


For studies related to agronomy, the scientific and technical base is essential. Knowledge acquired in the Bachelor's Degree to design, lead, and manage engineering projects in agricultural, livestock, or gardening and landscaping production with economic, social, and environmental profitability criteria is vital to approach the working stage with no doubts. However, ignoring AI integration would close our eyes to a wave of change already shaping the educational landscape, even the workplace. Banning AI is impracticable and could restrict the adaptability needed in the academic field. We must approach the integration of AI by modelling its use.


This image has been generated with ChatGTP to illustrate this article


Modelling the appropriate use of AI means being transparent about the strategies of use with a vocation for continuous learning. In practice, this can be reflected in integrating AI platforms in the classroom to personalize learning, the ability of students to identify reliable sources to validate results or using analytical tools to improve educational feedback. Professors must pioneer using AI, explore new teaching methodologies, and adapt their teaching to these technologies' capabilities. Fortunately, the first steps are being taken, and at the School of Agricultural, Food and Biosystems Engineering (ETSIAAB), different Innovative education projects have already integrated AI into research or teaching.


Although this article does not go into the ethical aspects of AI adoption, I believe the key is to consider AI as a tool that enhances the quality and depth of our students' learning. I suggest teachers critically reflect on the challenges and opportunities that AI presents in each of their subjects to ensure that these tools serve as complements and not as substitutes for critical and analytical skills (the fundamental part of our teaching), recognizing the significance of careful integration that respects both academic values and the practical needs of the modern university.


* Daniel Palmero Llamas is a professor of the Department of Agricultural Production at the ETSIAAB and program director of the Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Engineering.