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Tree-hugging AI to the rescue of Brazilian Amazon

Small, artificially intelligent boxes tied to tree trunks in the Brazilian Amazon are the latest weapon in the arsenal of scientists and environmentalists battling destructive jungle invaders.

The boxes, named "curupiras" after a folkloric forest creature who preys on hunters and poachers, sport sensors and software trained "to recognize the sounds of chainsaws and tractors, or anything that could cause deforestation," project manager Thiago Almeida told AFP.

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"We recorded the sound of chainsaws and tractors in the forest... then, all the collected sounds were passed on to the AI team to train (the program) so that... it would only recognize these sounds and not the characteristic sounds of the forest, such as animals, vegetation and rain," he explained.

Once identified, details of the threat can then be relayed to a central point and agents deployed to deal with it.