Roland Piquepaille writes "Farmers in Switzerland receive money from their government for letting their cows eat young trees in the Alps. But why? Because this is improving the mountain views for tourists who might return year after year and spend their cash in the country. As the Swiss government wants to wisely spend its money, it is using a computer model of the mountains populated by virtual tourists -- or software agents -- which tirelessly take the same roads again and again and give their appreciation about the best spots. The Economist reports about these virtual tourists in this very cleverly-titled article, "Computer browsers." What will be the next logical step? Pay more the farmers with the strongest potential to improve the views for real tourists? Wrong. Instead, real hikers will be invited to explore the virtual Alps to give their feedback. Their observations will be then integrated into the software managing the virtual travelers. Read more for pictures and references."
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