Real life Dr. Dolittle? Scientists on verge of cracking code for talking to animals

Animal researchers say talking with dogs, deciphering whale calls, interpreting bird calls, and more will all be possible in the next few years as artificial intelligence applications learn to translate the communications of different creatures. He said it is possible.

Scientists are using AI tools to analyze vast amounts of data about different species’ communication, from vocalizations to posture and facial expressions, to determine whether animals can understand and converse with humans in human language. are beginning to judge.

“We’ve opened the door to using machine learning to decipher languages ​​we don’t yet know how to decipher,” allowing humans to “converse with animals.” He predicts this will be possible within the next two years.

“The plot twist is that we will be able to communicate.” [with animals] Before We Understand”, Ruskin told Scientific American. “I wouldn’t be surprised if I found out. [expressions for] “Sadness,” “mother,” or “hunger” across species.

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Christian Lutz, a behavioral ecologist at the University of St. Andrews, agrees.

With new developments in AI, “people are finding themselves on the brink of some pretty big advances in understanding animal communication behavior,” he said.

This research and potential breakthroughs go beyond just translating animal sounds. Animal language researcher Kon Slobochkov aims to develop an AI model that can interpret dog barks and the facial expressions of their owners.

“We get so fixated on voice being the only valid element of communication that we miss so many other cues,” he says. Despite this added complexity, Slobochkov is confident that machine learning will soon reveal what pets are trying to communicate.

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According to Slobochkov, dogs communicate in more ways than just barking. (St. Petersburg)

Advances in AI can also help translate animals beyond traditional pets.

For example, Project CETI lead biologist Shane Gero uses it to decipher the sounds of sperm whales. His team is using underwater microphones to track codas (specific patterns in whale calls) and plans to use AI to translate the codas.

Gero started by inputting the coder that his team manually decoded into the algorithm. This allowed us to correctly identify a subset of whales 99% of the time. CETI ultimately hopes to create a “whale chatbot.”

A sperm whale plummets toward the ocean floor as divers watch.

Project CETI aims to translate the clicking sounds of sperm whales into a language that humans can understand. (Photo by Alexis Rosenfeld/Getty Images)


of Cornell Lab of OrnithologyMeanwhile, has developed a tool that can accurately identify and differentiate the sounds of more than 1,000 species of birds. The Earth Species Project plans to test how zebra finches respond to AI-generated bird calls.

“You could pass the Turing test for finches, crows and whales,” Ruskin said, referring to the ability to trick animals into believing they are communicating with their own species.

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