Shutterstock Distinguished Lecture Series Speaker: Daniel I. Rubenstein

Friday, September 20, 2019 - 14:30 to 15:30
New Computer Science, Room 120
Event Description: 

AI for Conservation: AI and Humans Combating Extinction Together by Daniel I. Rubenstein of Princeton University

ABSTRACT: The state of our planet is not good. We have lost more than 60% of the world's wildlife. Stopping the decline remains a challenge, especially since acquiring appropriate knowledge is expensive, time consuming and risky. Visual observations following the fates of a few individuals was the currency of the realm. But GPS technology and now machine learning provide a non-invasive scalable alternative. Photographs, taken by field scientists, tourists, automated cameras and incidental photographers, are the most abundant source of data on wildlife today. Wildbook, a project of tech for conservation coordinated by a non-profit Wild Me, is an autonomous computational system that starts from massive collections of images and, by detecting various species of animals and identifying individuals, combined with sophisticated data management, turns them into high-resolution information databases, enabling scientific inquiry, conservation and citizen science.

BIO: Dan Rubenstein is the Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology. He is currently Director of Princeton's Environmental Studies Program and is former Chair of  Princeton University's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and  Director of Princeton’s Program in African Studies. He is a behavioral ecologist who studies how environmental variation and individual differences shape social behavior, social structure, sex 
roles and the dynamics of populations. He has special interests in all species of wild horses, zebras and asses, and has done field work on them throughout the world identifying rules governing decision-making, the emergence of complex behavioral patterns and how these understandings influence their management 
and conservation. In Kenya he also works with pastoral communities to develop and assess impacts of various grazing strategies on rangeland quality, wildlife use and livelihoods. He has also developed a scout program for gathering data on Grevy’s zebras and created curricular modules for local schools to raise awareness about the plight of this endangered species. He engages people as 'Citizen Scientists' and has recently extended his work to measuring the effects of environmental change, including issues pertaining to the global commons 
and changes wrought by management and by global warming, on behavior.

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Shutterstock Distinguished Lecture Series Speaker: Daniel I. Rubenstein