AI is well suited to interpreting animal communications.

It is surprising that nobody thought of it before. AI is eminently capable of translating all those animal clicks and woofs and tweets into human language. In principle, the challenge is no different from that of interpreting human speech. In practice, there is just one hitch though. And it’s not a small one. AI might be great at sorting all those animal sounds into categories. But, to access their meanings, we have to be able to tie them into specific behaviours. When you are an infant, for example, the word ‘elephant’ means nothing unless you tie it to an image or to the actual appearance of an elephant. Understanding animal language is no different. It is easy enough to record countless animal noises but you need to do so in conjunction with the behaviours exhibited at the time. And, given the current state of AI, you need to do that huge numbers of times in order to train the AI appropriately. That is currently out of our league. Anyway, we have now taken the first steps on this fascinating journey. Dr Dolittle, move over.

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