Project CETI (the Cetacean Translation Initiative) is launching the largest “interspecies communication” project ever.
National Geographic updated its readers about the latest progress reports. Gruber said that the project aims to help people connect with the natural world.
Gruber explained to National Geographic, “I had this idea that people could fall in Love jellyfish and then fall in love with all things.” “But there’s something about whales that really taps into our human curiosity. “
Gruber began studying whale language. Gruber’s clicks were heard by a computer scientist colleague. Gruber’s clicks resounded to him like Morse code. This alphabet uses combinations of signals and sounds of light and sound that are different lengths.
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Gruber and his colleagues want to greatly increase the number of whale conversations. In order to train machine-learning algorithms–algorithms that can glean relevant patterns from datasets–the researchers need to go from small data to big data. Gruber claims that there are only a few thousand examples currently of whale communication. The algorithms will only work if there are millions of examples.
CETI’s team has started a multi-pronged effort that aims to collect whale conversations. They will place microphones near sperm whale areas and use drones to drop microphones into the water.
Gruber predicted that all these language examples could potentially be used to build the largest animal behavioral dataset. This will allow researchers to communicate directly with whales to find out if they speak English. It is still a mystery what the whales think about the world with their huge brains.