Friday the 20th of May is the day the world comes together to celebrate bees. It was chosen for World Bee Day in honor of the birthday of a pioneer of modern apiculture, Anton Janša, and is recognized by the UN General Assembly. While it can seem like almost everything has its own day now, bees are a hugely important part of our ecosystem, so it’s worth celebrating them, in this case by marvelling at a wonderful AI that helps keep them alive and healthy.
AIs are being trained to do all sorts of amazing things, like make pizzas, control nuclear fusion, and even make art. According to TechXplore, In the Galilee region of Israel, AIs are being integrated into beehives by the startup Beewise, and are helping to automatically monitor the bees and their needs.
The 24 hives looked after by this AI have been named Beehome and are currently located in the agriculture community Kibbutz Beit HaEmek in northern Israel. Built into the hives is a multi-purpose robot with AI trained to monitor and look after the bees.
The Beehome is solar powered and maintains the hives by dispensing sugar, water, and medication when needed as well as keeping a close eye on the conditions of the hives. It can control pests, prevent swarms, automate harvesting of honey, and alert beekeepers to problems in real time via an app. This also allows Beekeepers to do a lot of simple tasks remotely, rather than having to disturb the hive.
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“The robot is equipped with sensors that allow it to know what is happening in the hive frames,” said Beewise’s director of operations, Netaly Harari. “Thanks to artificial intelligence, our software knows what the bees need”. All of this not only assists beekeepers, but also helps the bees themselves.
Bees have been having a rough go of it for a while now. Between pesticides, climate change, and other factors the bee population has taken a severe hit in recent times, and it’s hoped that these automated hives will help future generations of bees. Given how much our food supply relies on these little pollinators, this looks like a great way to put AI to use to improve countless lives, insect and otherwise.
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