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JD.com is Testing Facial Recognition for Pigs

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One of China’s biggest e-commerce platforms is making moves in the world of pig facial recognition. JD.com (Jingdong) announced this week that it was launching an Agriculture and Husbandry Academic Research initiative that would include scanning the faces of pigs and potentially other livestock as it looks to revolutionize farming in China.

If that sounds like an out-of-season April Fool, that’s because back in the spring it really was the stuff of April Fools: Baidu and Tencent both released videos that claimed they were bringing facial recognition to the animal kingdom. It’s not event the first time a Chinese tech company has announced it’s hoping to take pigs to market; last year, it emerged that internet outfit NetEase had been quietly on the porcine scene for close to a decade:

Chinese tech conglomerate NetEase has been quietly raising pigs for eight years

JD.com’s moves are part of an effort from the company to help farmers raise better quality livestock at lower prices. In addition to facial recognition technology, JD’s fintech arm also revealed at a buzzword-filled press conference on Tuesday that they were looking to incorporate robotics, Internet of Things technologies, and AI into agricultural practices.

To this end, the company is working with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and China Agricultural University in looking at ways to insert new technologies into rural China. JD has said it expects the program to help reduce the cost of rearing pigs by as much as 50%.

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