Scientists are working on artificial intelligence that will allow us to communicate with whales

(ORDO NEWS) — A team of scientists of different specialties launched a project to decipher the language of communication of sperm whales for subsequent entry into a dialogue with them.

The project is called Project CETI (Cetacean Translation Initiative), and its goal is to use artificial intelligence to understand the language of whales. Specifically, the team wants to decipher the clicking sounds that sperm whales use to communicate with each other, also known as “codes.”

To accomplish this, the researchers plan to use natural language processing (NLP), a subset of artificial intelligence focused on the processing of written and spoken language. The team has already applied the sperm whale code records to the NLP algorithm, and the results are promising.

“It looks like NLP has done very well on at least some relatively simple tasks,” said Michael Bronstein, head of machine learning at Project CETI.

Decoding the speech of whales

As amazing as the goals of teams are, there is one huge obstacle: they need a gigantic amount of data. In fact, the first goal of the CETI project is to collect four billion codes. However, less than 100,000 codes have been collected so far.

In comparison, GPT-3 , a well-known natural language processing algorithm, was trained using approximately 175 billion words.

Scientists are working on artificial intelligence that will allow us to communicate with whales 2

Researchers will also need to place all codes in the context of whale communication, since words without context have no meaning. This will take years of research into the natural habitat of sperm whales.

However, if the CETI project fulfills this titanic task, then humanity may have a language model that would allow not only understanding whales, but also responding to them. This would forever change our perception of nature and the mechanisms of interaction with it.

“If we find that an entire civilization is, in fact, under our noses, perhaps it will lead to some kind of shift in our attitude to the environment,” says Bronstein. “And perhaps it will lead to greater respect for the living world.”

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