The power to communicate to animals would be a curse

Who has never dreamed of talking with animals as clearly as with another human? If this fantasy is on the way to becoming a reality, an expert sees the possibility that this dream could turn into a nightmare.

Karen Bakkera digital innovation expert at the University of British Columbia, talked about it in more detail during a recent interview with Vox. According to her, we are moving towards a future in which we can communicate with animals. Of course, it is neither our hearing nor our language that evolves, but our technology, in particular artificial intelligence. If this perspective makes you dream, the expert warns ethical issues that such an innovation would generate.

An exploitation of technology at the expense of animals?

The various animals of the planet have their specific way of communicating. If, centuries ago, we didn’t even know that bats use ultrasound, that has changed a lot. Today, new perspectives are opening up to the scientific world.

Currently, scientists have installed, among other things, automated listening posts in different ecosystems. It starts in the rainforests and even goes to the depths of the ocean. The goal is to have a Better comprehensionnot only bioacousticsbut also ecoacoustics.

“Combined, these digital devices work like a hearing aid on a planetary scale: they allow humans to observe and study the sounds of nature beyond the limits of our sensory abilities. »

Karen Bakker

artificial intelligence is there to identify patterns in the sounds that nature emits.

Thanks to different devices, researchers have at their disposal huge amount of data. However, manually processing this information is impossible. Fortunately I’artificial intelligence is there for analyze recordings and identify patterns in the sounds emitted by nature.

Thanks to this, scientists can hope understand what animals communicate with each other.

SEE AS ​​WELL : We could soon talk to animals thanks to Artificial Intelligence!

Hello or curse? It’s up to us to decide

Today, researchers have, so to speak, already crossed the interspecies communication barrier. They communicate in a way extremely rudimentary with dolphins, bees and, to some extent, with elephants. Faced with the prospect of talking with animals, Karen Bakker has already issued a warning. According to her, this new understanding sounds can be used, either as a blessing, be like a curse.

In the first case, this innovation could offer us a sense of kinship with nature. We could even, theoreticallyrestore the damage we’ve done. Karen Bakker particularly mentioned a project that is still in its infancy.

animal language

“One project that really excites me is the use of bioacoustics to create a form of music therapy for the environment. It turns out that some species, like fish and corals, respond to sounds like those in healthy reefs. And it could help us regenerate degraded ecosystems. »

Karen Bakker

Or, on the contrary, we could use this ability to establishing our domination over animals and manipulating them. For example, a German team succeeded in coding the signals of bees in a small robot. The latter therefore has the ability to give orders to others bees. The only limit is the trust that can be established by introducing robots into the hives as soon as they are born. This would offer a certain level of control over the hives, a level never achieved before.

Ms. Bakker’s biggest concern would be that this innovation would serve to military exploitation of animals.

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The power to communicate to animals would be a curse

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