John McCoy: Artificial intelligence helps wildlife cops anticipate poachers’ moves

It’s probably years away from being used in West Virginia, but computer-based artificial intelligence appears to be helping law enforcement officers find wildlife poachers. Researchers are combining AI with something called “game theory” to plan patrols based on the topography, game movements and past instances of illegal activity in a given area. “In most parks, ranger patrols are poorly planned, reactive rather than pro-active, and habitual,” said Fei Fang, a Ph.D. candidate in the computer science department at the University of Southern California. In other words, the horse is usually out of the barn by the time the law arrives — and if the law does happen to arrive before law breakers do their thing, officers execute their patrols so predictably the bad guys often are able to avoid them.…


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