September 21, 2016 | Written by: Amy Bennett
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Setting the scene
Great white sharks are back and hopefully here to stay off of Cape Cod Massachusetts. In early August, there were 6 great white sharks spotted feeding on a whale carcass near Truro beaches. The day we left Cape Cod from vacation, a large shark was seen at noon only 4 ft from shore at Race Point Beach. Days later a shark was seen feasting on a seal and another was circling a boat off of Race Point Beach. The presence of these beautiful apex predators indicates a healthy ocean ecosystem.
Why the resurgence in shark numbers?
Two big reasons are a breeding ground was recently identified off of Long Island and the seal population is back up. While this is exciting news, these beautiful creatures strike fear in many people. I know the odds of getting attacked and killed by a shark is 1 in 3.7M and I’m more likely to be killed by lightening or win the lottery, but the memories of watching Jaws as a child still sends chills down my spine and my mind plays the infamous theme song by John Williams.
Given my love for marine biology, my recent family vacation to Provincetown, and my current job in Watson IoT, I am now fascinated with how IoT could be used to track and conserve great white sharks. So I’m tasked with figuring out how IoT could have ruined Jaws.
The film: Jaws
Jaws is the film that started summer blockbusters and is (in my opinion) one of the greatest films ever made. Directed by Steven Spielberg, starring an amazing cast of actors including Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss, and filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, this film captured the heart and imagination of generations.
The busy summer resort town of Amity Island is terrorized one summer by a predator in the waters. The Mayor and others try to downplay the threat and keep the tourist economy buzzing through 4th of July, but the police chief and oceanographer know better. They know that there is a man-eating shark lurking in the waters. A small, brave band of hunters venture out on the Orca to take care of the 25 foot shark. I won’t go into graphic detail or spoil the movie for the few who haven’t seen it, but the chase, battle and ending is one of the best action sequences in movie history.
How IoT could ruin Jaws, change the way we vacation, and help the environment
After a brief bit of research I found a wealth of information and opportunities for IoT to ruin Jaws and to help conserve wildlife. We would have never had Jaws if we had IoT technologies in 1975.
- All sightings of Jaws would have been accessible by the general public, many folks would have seen the path of destruction left by Jaws off of Amity Island and vacationed elsewhere. Through a very cool app called Sharktivity all physical sightings and detections from shark stations are posted on a map of Cape Cod. Anyone can download the app and see where sharks have been in the past 2 days, a week, a month and in the past year. In the future, it would be great for Sharktivity to move from a shark reporting app to a real-time application that shared shark data instantaneously with the lifeguards and coast guard.
- Instead of wishing for a bigger boat, the brave fisherman could have simply tagged Jaws and tracked it from stationary sensors, buoys, boats and from planes (i.e., Lighthawk) or drones near beaches. For example, Amity Island could have installed clever buoys similar to those being tested at Bondi Beach in Australia. Instead of never knowing where Jaws was lurking, they could set up an alert system to the lifeguards and to mobile devices that would warn beach goers. This may not have fully stopped the highly intelligent and angry Jaws, but it would help with the location of most sharks. These real-time detection technologies would help us better coexist with these sharks. These technologies also help conserve other wildlife, allow us to better understand how wildlife interacts with the physical world, and could even help reduce poaching, including poaching of rhinos.
- We could even take everything one step further and match Watson against Jaws. Watson beat Jeopardy Champions, why not a shark. All data from drones, buoys, trackers, and environmental sensors could be collected and fed into the Watson IoT Platform for analysis to predict movements of the shark or any wildlife. This would have helped Brody and others predict the moves of Jaws and out smart the animal before the boat sank and lives were lost. This platform also helps conservationists, park officials, and governments make more informed decisions about habitats and policies. IoT could even help to improve tourism operations by better predicting where wildlife will be at any time.
We are really enjoying writing our IoT ruins movies series, and we hope you have enjoyed our other posts, including Thelma and Louise, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Batman: Dark Knight Rises. Let us know below what you think. And tell us what other movies we should give the IoT ruins movies treatment to.