In the future food will become scarce as most of the worlds agricultural lands turn to desert are polluted used urban development or run out of water. Hydroponics will be a new source of food that is water efficient. Agricultural robots will be used instead of human labor. Hydroponics (from the Greek words hydro (water) and ponos (labour) is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions instead of soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, or mineral wool.
Plant physiology researchers discovered in the 19th century that plants absorb essential mineral nutrients as inorganic ions in water. In natural conditions, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth. When the mineral nutrients in the soil dissolve in water, plant roots are able to absorb them. When the required mineral nutrients are introduced into a plant's water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive. Almost any terrestrial plant will grow with hydroponics, but some will do better than others. It is also very easy to do; the activity is often undertaken by very young children with such plants as watercress. Hydroponics is also a standard technique in biology research and teaching.