Spring 2020

Decoding Communication in Non-Human Species

Apr. 16Apr. 17, 2020

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Michael Bronstein (Imperial College London), Shafi Goldwasser (Simons Institute, UC Berkeley), David Gruber (City University of New York)

With advances in engineering, artificial intelligence, and linguistics, we now stand a chance to decode communication in non-human life including animals and plants, which has fascinated humans for millennia. Success can ignite a new global movement to protect our planet. One example for an ongoing project on this topic is the CETI (Cetacean Translation Initiative) project which aims to decipher the sonic communication of the most enigmatic ocean species: the sperm whale. In doing so, it aims to show that today’s most cutting-edge technology can be used to benefit not only humankind, but other species on this planet by deeply enabling humans to better understand and protect the life around us. Sperm whales communicate with one another via Morse Code-like vocalizations that vary from one sperm whale community to another and share hallmarks of a highly-evolved language. Project CETI seeks to find a way to listen deeply to another species’ communication, interpret their voices, and then communicate back.To make these investigations possible, one needs to bring together and build on the latest discoveries of experts in disparate fields including robotics experts, marine biologists, machine learning experts, data scientists, and linguists working together.

Further details about this workshop will be posted in due course. Enquiries may be sent to the organizers decoding2020 [at] lists [dot] simons [dot] berkeley [dot] edu (at this address).