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Alibaba backs pig-raising with AI technologies

At the Computing Conference 2018: Shanghai Summit on June 7, Alibaba Cloud introduced its ET Agricultural Brain that aims to lower pigs’ death rate by 3% and allow each sow to raise three more piglets each year.

According to its President, Simon Hu, ET Agricultural Brain can monitor each pig’s daily activity, growth indicators and other health indexes using AI technologies such as visual recognition, voice recognition, and real-time environmental parameter monitoring. Hu said that active pigs will become favored over heavier ones: a pig that runs 200 km over the course of its life will be sold over a 100 kg one.

Sharing his company’s experiences using ET Agricultural Brain at the conference, Sichuan-based pig farming enterprise Tequ Group’s Chairman Wang Degen said that Alibaba Cloud’s technology and ecosystem integrates cutting edge interactive automation with hog farming. Other early adopters include the Shaanxi-based agricultural company Haisheng Group, which according to Alibaba Cloud’s estimation, could save around USD 3.1M in annual operating costs by using the technology.

ET Agricultural Brain has also been successfully used in the smart-city, transportation, industrial, and aviation sectors. Alibaba, due to its success in cloud computing, is also the official cloud services partner of the International Olympic Committee.

In December 2017,  Alibaba Cloud unveiled ET Aviation Brain to increase airport efficiency by digitally assigning planes to aprons, or aircraft parking spaces. This January, the computing arm rolled out its first overseas AI platform in Malaysia, using it to make live traffic predictions to increase transportation efficiency.

According to Hu, the company envisions that the technology will be adopted across many other sectors, including forestry and fisheries, to become more efficient and provide consumers more environmentally friendly options.

Meanwhile, the domestic pig business has drawn other internet giants as well, such as NetEase, due to the fact that China is the world’s largest pork consumer. Early in 2009, NetEase founder Ding Lei started raising non-genetically altered pigs. Last May, this pig-rearing business attracted major O2O platform Meituan-Dianping to lead a USD 23 million Series A investment round to grow the business.

(Top photo from Google)

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