Sometimes, the media focuses on all the negative things that AI represents, and it is easy to forget that there are a lot of applications where AI is a big helper.
Take, for instance, TrailGuard AI, which is a joint project between non-profit environmental consultancy Resolve and Intel, with some funding thrown in by National Geographic and Leonardo DiCaprio.
The problem they are trying to solve is one related to the survival of elephants and the ongoing battle that park rangers in the Serengeti fight every day against poachers.
It is estimated that poachers kill one elephant every 15 minutes for their valuable tusks.
The Serengeti Wildlife Reserve in northern Tanzania is roughly the size of Maryland and is home to over 7000 African elephants.
Guarding these animals are only 150 park rangers, which equals one ranger for every 38 square miles.
The rangers have utilized trail cams for years to help them monitor larger areas.
Trail cams, however, are not very smart and are triggered by any movement, even the passing clouds.
So Resolve and Intel partnered to make trail cameras smarter through the use of AI.
The result is TrailGuard AI, a tiny camera that connects back to the home base using satellite or long-range (LoRa) connectivity.
A trained artificial intelligence then catalogs the images in near real-time and identifies humans with great accuracy, flagging them for rangers to review.
The AI can also identify many different types of animals.
This use case is being tested in India now to identify and warn communities when wild tigers are entering populated areas.
Unlike its human counterparts, the TrailGuard AI never sleeps and brings round-the-clock safety to the Serengeti’s elephants by helping the small number of rangers be in the right place at the right time.