View of Amazonian river

The Tembé people in Brazil work hard to stop invaders from cutting down their trees. Their 30 forest rangers have been patrolling the border of their lands on foot to protect it from abuse, but this approach has met conflict—deforesters sometimes bring armed guards who shoot and kill the Tembé people. With the help of Topher White from Rainforest Connection, they now use machine learning to identify and alert tribal leaders, in real time, of logging trucks and chainsaws in use on their property. The devices they mounted on various trees listen for sounds as far as a kilometer away, much farther than what the human ear can pick up. They can now use the copious amounts of time they used to spend patrolling toward other more productive activities.

Photo by Eutah Mizushima on Unsplash

This plant identification app is definitely a work in progress (but keep in mind it was designed to get better over time through crowdsourcing data). Here’s how it works: take a picture of a leaf or flower from a plant you don’t know, and the AI will (sometimes be able to) identify it for you.

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

Visualizing the future brings mental images of eyewear that can identify any object in our line of vision, and this project may be a first step to that. AI has learned how to identify plants, albeit flattened and dried, from large databases of plants, databases that are getting bigger and bigger.

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