How AI Helps Us Better Understand Animal Language


When it comes to artificial intelligence and deep learning, we naturally think of translation tools that allow texts and sounds from many languages ​​to be translated in a few seconds.

A translator of animal language?

But technology is also advancing rapidly when it comes to animal communication. So much so that the idea of ​​exchanging directly and in a fairly structured way with animals is no longer as absurd as it seems.

In an interesting article on the subject, the World Economic Forum highlighted the Earth Species Project (ESP), an American non-profit organization that has been working for years on machine learning systems aimed at deciphering animal communication.

Concretely, the researchers work on a wide variety of species such as birds, primates, elephants, insects, amphibians, but also certain pets such as dogs and cats.

The communication of cetaceans, such as whales or dolphins, is worth the detour according to scientists. Katie Zacarian, CEO and co-founder of ESP explains: “Cetaceans are particularly interesting because of their long history – 34 million years – as a cultural and social learning species. And because – since light doesn’t propagate well underwater – much of their communication is forced through the acoustic channel. »

Ultimately, some observers hope to establish a direct conversation with animals, in particular to warn them of imminent danger or to better understand their point of view. But one question remains: what would they tell us if they could talk to us? It is not certain that the answer is pleasant to hear.

Understanding animals to get to know us better

Be that as it may, this type of research is far from new. In 2020, we were telling you about this study conducted by American researchers. They then tried to decode the sounds emitted by the mice.

To see more clearly, they brought together four rodents and let them interact for five hours, recording all of these exchanges. An AI was then called upon to better understand under what circumstances the vocalizations are emitted.

Although it is not a real translation tool, it is a valuable aid to better understand the social behavior of mice, and subsequently to understand the functioning of human brain circuits. To learn more, you can always read our article here.

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