Sunday, 3 June 2018

Facial recognition software could help endangered primates, slow illegal trafficking

Date: May 24, 2018
Source: Michigan State University

New facial recognition software and app invented at Michigan State University can help protect endangered primates -- more than 60 percent of which face extinction.

Golden monkeys have lost so much habitat, they are only found in a handful of national parks in Africa; farming and illegal hardwood trade in Madagascar is gobbling up the island's forests and displacing native lemurs; in a recent six-year span, more than 22,200 great apes have been lost due to illegal trade, and yet there have been only 27 arrests.

"Intervention is necessary to halt and reverse these population declines," said Anil Jain, MSU Distinguished Professor of computer science and engineering and senior author on the study. "Automated facial recognition is one way we can help combat these loses."

Jain and his doctoral student Debayan Deb harnessed the prowess of his world-renowned biometrics lab -- which has helped solve high-profile crimes -- to create PrimNet. The program uses convolutional neural networks, artificial-intelligence inspired technology that allows everything from self-driving cars to robots to observe and understand our world.

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