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The Hysteria of Bodalís + The Return of the Operator

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AI can tell the difference between chicken squawks.

July 5, 2022

Ask any dog owner, and they'll tell you that they can tell what their dog means by the sound they make. Maybe it's a playful bark or an angry bark. But do you think they can do the same for chickens?

Researchers at the City University in Hong Kong have taught AI how to listen to chicken squawks and determine when they're distressed. They claim to have 97% accuracy.

Do you think there was an exit interview?

The hope is that the analysis can help raise animal welfare standards based on the percentage of distressed squawks. The same researchers found that less distress leads to higher weights and fewer deaths, making the technology an easy sell for farmers.

Turning this into a story, what if the AI could tell what a wide range of animals are feeling by the sounds they make? The new information available reveals an Animal Farm-type situation in rural America.

The story begins with a struggling farmer. He's desperate for a high-quality yield but can't determine why his livestock isn't as productive as his neighbors. So despite having little incoming money, he spends the rest of what he and his wife have on a new-age AI system that divulges the contentment of his farm.

And he uncovers more than he's bargained for in the process. There is a mafia-like system in place: the horses are the muscle for the pigs, and the cows have a choke hold on the mules. The chickens are caught in the power struggle, pulled in both directions, and losing food on both fronts.

The farmer and his wife devise a plan to take back control of their farm. First, they bring the chickens into their house. Then, within a single night, the animals start producing more eggs, freed from the demands of the two factions outside. The AI system backs up the farmer's findings, reporting that the chickens are content.

The farmer then works on solving the differences between the pigs and the cows-the horses and mules are simply the muscle. Finally, he builds a new enclosure for the pigs, far away from the rest of the animals.

Separating the animals works in the short term, but eventually, the AI reports that all animals feel lonely because of the lack of community. So he brings portions of the animals back together, looking for the ideal combination.

During his trial and error, a lawsuit emerges claiming the AI provides fake information about the livestock's contentment. The AI company admits that the entire system is made up.

Because of the increase in productivity, the farmer has his doubts. Nevertheless, he continues looking for the proper arrangement that allows for the community but doesn't encourage the divisive factions while relying on AI. 

Flash forward a few years later, the farmer has a thriving operation because of his willingness to examine the layout of his farm. He still uses the AI interpreter despite his wife's constant nagging against his reliance on it. At the end of the story, the AI begins analyzing the farmer and his wife, providing him with information about the messages hidden within his wife's tone of voice.

Recent Posts from Latin American author Marcos Antonio Hernandez

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The Hysteria of Bodalís + The Return of the Operator

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