Who has never dreamed of talking to animals as clearly as to another human? If this fantasy is about to become a reality, one expert sees the possibility that this dream could turn into a nightmare.
Karen Bakkera expert in digital innovation 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 where we can communicate with animals. Of course, it is neither our hearing nor our language that is developing, but our technology, especially artificial intelligence. If this perspective makes you dream, the expert warns Ethical issues that such an innovation would create.
An exploitation of technology at the expense of animals?
That different animals of the planet have theirs a certain 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 for the scientific world.
At the moment, researchers have installed e.g. automated listening posts in different ecosystems. It starts in the rainforests and even goes down to the depths of the ocean. The goal is to have one Better understandingnot only bioacousticsbut also ecoacoustics.
“Together, these digital devices act as 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. »
Thanks to various devices, researchers have at their disposal huge amounts of data. However, it is impossible to process this information manually. Fortunately artificial intelligence is there for analyze recordings and identify patterns in the sounds that nature emits.
Thanks to this, researchers can hope understand how animals communicate with each other.
SEE ALSO: We could soon talk to animals thanks to artificial intelligence!
Hello or curse? It is up to us to decide
Today, researchers already have, so to speak 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 to animals, Karen Bakker has already issued a warning. According to her this new understanding sounds can be used, either as -one blessing, Be like a curse.
In the first case, this innovation could offer us a sense of kinship with nature. We could even theoretically do thatrepair the damage we have done. Karen Bakker mentioned a project in particular that is still in its infancy.
“One project that really excites me is the use of bioacoustics to create a kind 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 can help us regenerate degraded ecosystems. »
Or, on the contrary, we could use this ability to establish our dominion over animals and manipulate them. For example, a German team managed to code the bees’ signals into a small robot. The latter therefore has ability to give orders to other 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 suggest a certain level of control over the hives, a level never achieved before.
Mrs. Bakker’s main concern would be that this innovation would serve to military exploitation of animals.