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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.

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