As humans, we love to constantly innovate and grow our technological capabilities. Yet while we can evolve technologically on a daily basis, if we don’t do a better job of looking after the planet we live on we won’t have a playground in which to play with all our new toys. If we are even able to survive at all.
Technology can be utilised to help us to better live without destroying the valuable resources of the planet, and are ultimately what we really need to be focusing on. Alphabet is launching one such new platform design to help us achieve this, through a new project called Tidal. With a focus on tackling our marine resources and ensuring we do a better job at managing them so we don’t run out of fish or damage our oceans too severely. The objective of Tidal is to develop technologies that will give us a better understanding of what’s happening underwater, with a focus on helping fish farmers to run and grow their operations in environmentally friendly ways.
Tidal’s core mission was explained in a recent blog post by its general manager Neil Dave (and reported in The Verge). As its first part of achieving its goal, Tidal has developed an underwater camera system coupled with computer vision and other AI techniques to track and monitor thousands of individual fish as they develop. It might be a little-known project or company, but the project has apparently already been operating for over three years already with cameras already deployed in Europe and Asia to help track fish species like salmon and yellowtail.
Humanity is pushing the ocean past its breaking point, but we can’t protect what we don’t understand. 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. Fish have a low carbon footprint relative to other sources of animal protein and they play a critical role in feeding 3 billion people today so helping fish farmers could prove critical both for humanity and for the health of the ocean
The electrical components had to be developed to withstand the extreme cold and crushing pressures of the ocean’s unforgiving saltwater environment, something which is impressive and technology that could find use elsewhere in the digital imaging space. The system can also interpret behaviours not visible to farmers like eating behaviours and other environmental data levels to help make better decisions in the protection of our oceans. Let’s hope the project is a success and we may actually still have fish in our water in the distant future.
Last Updated: March 5, 2020