About 8 million species share this very planet Earth with us. Have you ever wondered, when birds Twitter or chirp, when cats meow, when cows moo, and when chicken cluck, what actually they say, what message they pass? They are living beings after all and in order to survive they must communicate and understand each other. But how can this understanding prevail in inter-species or specifically concerning humans, how can we understand what our co-species say and vice-versa? can AI help us talk to animals?
Sounds produced by animals, their transmission, and reception have been studied for many decades and the study is known as Bioacoustics, but now a group in California, that is known as the Earth Species Project has gone many steps ahead. ESP a non-profit established in 2017 has set up a complete laboratory, to process the sounds produced by animals. The technology working behind is the form of Artificial Intelligence. It’s just that someone like Aza Raskin who is the founder of this non-profit group has given thought to expand our understanding of our relationship with animals. When earlier there are just some guesses and speculations about the behavior of animals. With such initiatives being established, it’s not wrong to say that, such speculations can be confirmed and the bond with the co-species can be reformed and reaffirmed, dialects can be many, but the understanding unites them all.
Have you ever wondered to understand some foreign language and that too without a dictionary? But how can this help us to understand what animals say and how can AI help us talk to animals, to the contrary, this is what is being done in Bioacoustics, where the graphical representation of sounds is produced with the help of artificial intelligence, this is further processed to understand the behavioral patterns and prepare the categories for different moods and emotions. The graphical representation will form some shape of the sound fed and these shapes will determine the categories where the sound pieces will go into, that category will reflect, what they mean or stand for.
How Can AI Help Us Talk To Animals?
Earth species project has taken many particular species into consideration to understand the sounds they produce. The aim is wide, which will lately cover the sounds produced by many plants also. But to start, they are studying some animal species only. Animals have forced us, humans, decades ago, to study the repeated sounds produced by them, repetitions have given some sense, otherwise, had it been just any way, the sounds would have been different all the time.
Technology has earlier helped us humans to understand what animals mean when they make certain sounds repeatedly, but again the studies were not convincing enough and we as humans don’t have any other option rather than believing. Some studies somehow proved to be right, and practices based on them are to date adopted to train animals.
Now, it’s time for the studies to outreach and explore the unexplored and provide humankind with some substantial conclusions, which can help many inter-species to interact in a better way adopted. Artificial intelligence has always been a topic under question since its arrival. Some believe it could be fatal, but the majority of researchers and scientists say that it is fatal, but only if not used wisely, it’s prepared by humans, and humans are its masters and always will be.
Ranging from driving cars to writing complex codes to creating excel formulas, AI has been a darling for many, but can this help in this scenario in particular, can AI help us talk to animals?
After the launch of GPT-4, many great AI researchers are fascinated with the potential it holds. It just relies on the prompts fed and later can do wonders for us. This technology only waits for the master in command to unleash it, then see the magic it does, no coder has thought in the best of their dreams that, codes will be auto-generated one day, and that too with zero bugs.
Can AI help us talk to animals, is merely a task, which just needs to be designed and processed and the master behind should know how to command it in order to get this done. Soon, we expect and if research reports are to be believed, the inter-species interactions can happen, and that too in a well-designed and clear and subtle way.
Can AI Help Us Talk To Animals- Challenges
AI research scientists associated with labs or groups like ESP have shown some concerns about the data which is collected and processed. Animal tags or Bio-loggers, are tied to animals or birds, to collect their sound patterns, behavioral pattern, and motion pattern. These recorded logs are further processed to understand the messages passed with every movement or motion attached.
Scientists working on this have shown concerns that the logs collected are not always in sufficient quantity or sometimes they are limited to some specific species only. This makes it difficult for them to understand the sound patterns and with such short language models, it gives challenges to machine learning. On the contrary, many other scientists from the ESP group also say that this is just the beginning phase and everything is just being tested and later if donors like the co-founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman keep vesting their trust in our research, then wonders will be done soon.
As being in the very early stage of its program and research, only some particular species have been considered and are recorded or followed up. Whereas the core concept which is to make the conversation or interaction happen between every other species faces challenges with only special data available, which limits the research and hinders progress. The researchers are almost millions are steps gone into this research and are providing positive outcomes, which actually is shaping the whole idea in actual. It might take time, as other species don’t understand our concern at the first place and may try to escape and but it is being dealt with, gradually, but once the interaction happens, we can have our chance to explain!
This one is a real challenge in itself, which is giving many tough times to researchers spending time on this idea of AI helping us to talk to animals. The term cocktail here actually means, noise. When in a jungle or maybe in a zoo, it always happens many animals and birds start chatting all at once and that too all together, which makes it tough to understand or determine the sound of different animals, and hence tagging them becomes almost impossible. Devices have been developed to come over this, but they even fail many times and cant cope-up. Many different patterns recorded from last many days with a particular species, suddenly get mixed with other unwanted sounds and processing becomes difficult.
However, experts are working tirelessly to eradicate such challenges, as the journey is long and they can’t afford to spend time on such issues which is slowing them to proceed further.
Benjamin Hoffman is a senior AI scientist, associated with Earth Species Project. He is specifically working on the project of an endangered species which is a Hawaiian Crow. This Crow lives in captivity and projects are underway to reintroduce this species to nature. The idea behind this project is to understand the behavior of such species when they realize that they are on the verge of extinction. Do they even realize that? do they pass messages to other species to save them? and what actually causes them to reduce in number and what kills them and why do they extinct?
This is something very crucial, if scientist succeeds in this particular project then we as humans can really help many other endangered species, long before we realize that they are going low in numbers. This could be of great help to nature and its balances and cycles will be maintained. Somehow ideas like can AI help us talk to animals could be revolutionary, it’s not only about making the most of the technology, it’s about making the best of the technology.
Coming across some news or update like, can AI help us talk to animals, sometimes gives many thoughts. How some few fellows really care about nature around us. They might know the fatal consequences if, we start believing that nature is to us, and soon instead of believing in such false scenarios, they try to utilize the technologies like AI to understand what nature wants to pass to us, what if nature really wants to interact and tell us about the other hidden treasures in its bowels, what if nature really at first place wants to inform about the approach of any calamity, do we have enough intelligence to understand the messages or just speculations and then debates followed, it is still time and maybe technologies like AI is born for a reason and specifically the questions like, can AI help us talk to animals gives way to the questions followed, can AI help us know about an approaching earthquake?
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