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Friday, July 19, 2024

Artificial Intelligence – For Cows?

Artificial Intelligence
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
11:45 am


Technology has come a long way since my time time growing up on a small dairy farm in Idaho. A recent AP News article asks: “Is the world ready for cows armed with artificial intelligence?

Answering its own question, the article observes:

No time to ruminate on that because the moment has arrived, thanks to a Dutch company that has married two technologies — motion sensors and AI — with the aim of bringing the barnyard into the 21st century.

The Dutch company, Connecterra  offers a system, “The Intelligent Dairy Farmer’s Assistant (IDA),” to monitor individual cows and predict how to deal with problems that may arise.

IDA uses a motion-sensing device attached to a cow’s neck to transmit its movements to a program driven by AI. The sensor data, when aligned repeatedly with real-world behavior, eventually allows IDA to tell from data alone when a cow is chewing cud, lying down, walking, drinking or eating.

Those indicators can predict whether a particular cow is ill, has become less productive, or is ready to breed — alerting the farmer to changes in behavior that might otherwise be easily missed.

Back in the day, my Dad knew each of his cows well, and called each of them by name.  However, modern dairies may have thousands of cows, not just a few dozen we had on our farm. Technology like IDA can really extend the ability of a dairy farmer to maximize production from all of the cows.

It does my heart good to see AI and IoT technologies applied to boost agribusiness.

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Deep Blue Defeated Garry Kasparov

Artificial Intelligence
Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, May 11, 2015
7:14 am

Eighteen years ago today, on May 10, 1997, an IBM supercomputer named Deep Blue defeated chess champion Garry Kasparov in a six-game chess match, the first defeat of a reigning world chess champion to a computer under tournament conditions.


Did Deep Blue demonstrate real artificial intelligence? The opinions are mixed. I like the comments of Drew McDermott  Professor of Computer Science at Yale University:

So, what shall we say about Deep Blue? How about: It’s a “little bit” intelligent. It knows a tremendous amount about an incredibly narrow area. I have no doubt that Deep Blue’s computations differ in detail from a human grandmaster’s; but then, human grandmasters differ from each other in many ways. On the other hand, a log of Deep Blue’s computations is perfectly intelligible to chess masters; they speak the same language, as it were. That’s why the IBM team refused to give game logs to Kasparov during the match; it would be equivalent to bugging the hotel room where he discussed strategy with his seconds. Saying Deep Blue doesn’t really think about chess is like saying an airplane doesn’t really fly because it doesn’t flap its wings.

It will be fun to see what the future brings. In the mean time, I like this phrase, which I first saw on a cubicle of a customer in Tennessee, “Intelligence, even if artificial, is preferable to stupidity, no matter how genuine.”

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