Alphabet’s latest project uses AI to develop sustainable fish farms

Alphabet (nee Google) has been known to make a number of interesting ‘moonshot’ investments – from initiatives such as the fantastic Project Loon all the way down to the now-cancelled Project Ara modular smartphone concept) – but now its latest mission is especially endearing, given the firm plans to use advanced technologies to preserve our ocean. One of its foremost projects? Using AI to track fish.

In an initial blog post, Neil Davé  – General Manager of Tidal, which is the project’s official name – opines that “Humanity is pushing the ocean past its breaking point, but we can’t protect what we don’t understand.” To that end, Davé outlines that one of Tidal’s earliest successes has been developing an underwater camera system coupled with computer vision to track developing fish and ensure that there would be a sustainable population.

The system also has other benefits. Davé outlines that the network is also capable of tracking data such as the temperature and oxygen level of fish ponds, which enables farmers to make forward-thinking decisions when managing their livestock.

As Davé says, “There may be an opportunity there to relieve some pressure on wild fishing if we made aquaculture very compelling from an operational and environmental perspective… helping fish farmers could prove critical both for humanity and for the health of the ocean.”

Dave outlines that the project’s initial area of focus is on ‘developing technologies that bring greater visibility and understanding of what’s happening under the water’, and that the fledgeling moonshot has been at work for a little over three years already. Under the project’s early purview, fish farming could be about to get a whole lot smarter.

What are your thoughts? Could Alphabet’s latest moonshot help conservation and farming efforts? What tools would you like to see work in similar industries? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.