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The Tech Equestrian

Welcome to the new normal. Technology is everywhere and effects everyone and everything.  To keep up with the changes and information that impacts the equestrian world, I hope you will enjoy the stories, profiles and insights that this blog will feature. In addition, stay connected on social by joining my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages!

The Horse World Meets A.I.

The Horse World Meets A.I.

As the horse world wakes to the dawn of digital and technology advancements – the human world is seeing rapid change fueled by more powerful microchips, processors, and power, all ingredients for a healthy recipe of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Also known as machine learning, AI is now a common buzzword, and can be summarized as ‘algorithms on steroids.’ Given all the benefits AI has afforded humans, The Tech Equestrian provides a glimpse of how AI might fast become an indispensable tool for the equine world. 

Let’s take a tour of the possibilities…

Transportation
Ridesharing apps Uber and Lyft are already using machine learning* to help increase efficiencies including wait and drive times, pricing, and more. Now think how this could translate for horse transportation – from managing the weight load of a rig to providing the best travel routes to avoid traffic, to offering up the nearest vet in case of emergency or feed store in case you run low. So the question is, would you trust your horse in a driver-less trailer? In the future, self-driving cars will be a reality and could result in less accidents due to human error – so wouldn’t that be a better option, more safety, and a more efficient ride? Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says the time for self-driving cars is “a years thing, not a decades thing,” however The Wall Street Journal recently interviewed several experts who said that fully autonomous vehicles are decades away.

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Social Networking
We are all familiar with tagging when you upload photos to Facebook – did you know that Facebook uses AI to recognize faces? Facebook also relies on AI to personalize your newsfeed and deliver the most relevant posts based on your interests. Pinterest uses computer vision, an application of AI where computers are taught to ‘see’ to identify images and then recommend similar images (or pins). Emojis in Instagram use machine learning to identify the meaning of an emoji – allowing the network to auto suggest emojis or hashtags. As you can see, the opportunities for using and enabling AI is changing the way we interact and communicate. How would this translate to the equestrian world? AI could be ideal for buying and selling horses online – identifying common traits; confirmation aspects of a horse by essentially giving more data and information from a seller to a buyer. Competing at horse shows will become more social where you’ll be able to watch video of all rounds not just winning rounds as they will be posted automatically and judges share their virtual scorecards – we could even see virtual judges in the future. Point tallies will be instant and will go a step further by predicting year-end champions through advanced algorithms. 

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Online Shopping
Examples of AI algorithms abound when it comes to Amazon sending you recommendations based on your purchases. Along with recommendations, you are also served up ‘customers who viewed this, also viewed that’ and more. Machine learning is a tool for detecting fraud in credit cards used by many companies including credit card processor, Square. In addition, since AI can learn your purchasing habits, this will translate into minimizing the probability of falsely declining your card and prevent fraud. The future of online will be all about hyper personalization – so that pair of Fabbri boots you want will be served up on your device knowing your size, color and style preferences and the date and location of your next horse show.

Smart Home = Smart Barn
Voice to text technology – once a hard to achieve reality –has now catapulted into the era of smart personal assistants, think Alexa and Echo. These smart assistants will bridge the gap between humans and their ‘smart’ homes. If there are smart homes, why not smart barns? Think of the possibilities – from turning on filtered water for buckets remotely, to feed efficiencies and even self-cleaning stalls. These functions will one day be communicated by humans to an AI controlled network. Building barns will not only be energy efficient but they will be designed to reduce the amount of cleaning and manual labor by humans. Safety will also be a priority with surveillance cameras and fire alerts built into the infrastructure. 

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AI will become a seamless part of our lives and our horse’s lives in the not too distant future and it will not only provide more access and information on our horse, but it will hopefully make it more affordable to own and care for a horse bringing a new level of safety, knowledge and welfare to the forefront – where green pastures will equal peace of mind. 
 

*Machine learning is a field of computer science that uses statistical techniques to give computer systems the ability to "learn" with data, without being explicitly programmed. Wikipedia

Research Source: Everyday Examples of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
By Gautam Narula on Techemergence (March 29, 2018)

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