Skip to Content
Artificial intelligence

Chinese farmers are using AI to keep tabs on their pigs

February 15, 2018

Big Brother has an eye on the sty. At least in China, anyway, where tech giant Alibaba is rolling out image- and sound-recognition software to help raise excellent porcine specimens.

What it does: Quartz reports that Alibaba has built software that identifies pigs by markings on their bodies, tracking their physical activity and stats such as age and weight. Sound recognition can listen out for telltale signs of ill health.

Why AI? Some farms in China  have a lot of pigs. Tequ, a Chinese agricultural firm that’s teting out the technology, raises 10 million pigs a year. That means “relying on manpower is already not enough,” according to its CIO.

How it helps: The AI should create efficiences that take some strain out of looking after all those animals. It will help farmers keep track of the health of their pigs, for instance, and allow them to establish which ones will give birth to healthy offspring.

Deep Dive

Artificial intelligence

Why Meta’s latest large language model survived only three days online

Galactica was supposed to help scientists. Instead, it mindlessly spat out biased and incorrect nonsense.

DeepMind’s game-playing AI has beaten a 50-year-old record in computer science

The new version of AlphaZero discovered a faster way to do matrix multiplication, a core problem in computing that affects thousands of everyday computer tasks.

Google’s new AI can hear a snippet of song—and then keep on playing

The technique, called AudioLM, generates naturalistic sounds without the need for human annotation.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.