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Feb 16, 2018

Chinese farmers are using AI to help rear the world’s biggest pig population

It’s been called China’s “pork miracle.”

For centuries, pig-rearing in the country was predominantly a backyard occupation. (The etymology of the Chinese character for “home” literally means “house with a pig in it.”) But since the 1980s, China has swiftly modernized its pork industry to meet the demands of a newly-rich middle class. Now, half of the world’s pigs — some 700 million animals — live and die in China, most in huge farms. And to help manage this porcine horde, the country’s farmers are turning to a decidedly un-traditional tool: artificial intelligence.

Earlier this month, Chinese tech giant Alibaba signed a deal with pig farming corporation Dekon Group and pig feed manufacturer Tequ Group to develop and deploy AI-powered...

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