We are increasingly familiar with the idea that facial recognition is used to track humans, but what about tracking fish? The Norwegian fish-farming company Cermaq is obtaining licenses for its iFarm concept, which uses facial recognition technology to increase yields in salmon farming. Their system is trained to recognize each individual fish to keep track of their health and single them out for treatment.
iFarm is just one example of how panopticon-like surveillance models are redefining human–animal interaction. Facial recognition and trackers are also being used on livestock like cows and pigs, to track endangered species like elephants and lemurs, and to find lost cats and dogs. But applying such technological solutions to animal farming could have unintended consequences on species. Do these systems help us deal with nature or are they just solving the problems that factory farming creates? As humans’ impact on nature becomes more apparent, will every living thing eventually be monitored by some form of technology?