Smile! you’re in a database

A year-long BBC investigation into the brutal smuggling of chimpanzees found that as pets in wealthy homes or as performers in commercial zoos, baby chimps can command a price tag of $12,500, a little under £10,000.

But that might all change because the same software that recognises you in a friend’s social media post is being adapted to tackle the illegal trade in chimpanzees. Enter: Chimpface.

The idea came to conservationist Alexandra Russo when she contacted the non-profit Conservation X Labs and met computer vision expert Dr Colin McCormick.

“I began discussing the possibility of using some kind of software that could automatically find ape faces in online searches.”

The algorithm technology is being trained using a database of 3,000 ape face images.

“We train the algorithm to recognise individual chimps using up to 30 photos of an individual, adapting it to the chimp’s facial structures,” explains Dr Colin McCormick.

Read the full story at the BBC Website.


Hanneke van Ewijk is a master student at the VU University Amsterdam. Her research focuses on "chatbots and brands". For Aigency Hanneke writes the event reports.

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Category: English, NGO