Is It Possible For Humans To Learn Whale Language?

by Farhan
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There are few animals as loud as Sperm whales. The whales communicate with each other through creaking, knocking, and clicking. The coda, a dramatic orchestration of patterned clicks, might qualify as a complete language. So what can humans learn from these cetaceans? Scientists told Live Science the answer is definitely yes. But first, they have to collect and analyze a massive amount of sperm whale communication data.

They have complex social structures and spend a great deal of time interacting and exchanging codas. Even though their brains are six times larger than ours, the messages can last as little as 10 seconds, or they can last as long as an hour. Thus, whale vocalizations possess both a complex grammar and a longer duration than other animals.

As part of the CETI project, this paper is presented. Moreover, it describes plans for decoding the vocalizations of sperm whales. So, to begin, recordings of sperm whales collected. So, machine learning used to attempt to decode the sequences of clicks used by these mammals. 

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Unlike most whales, sperm whales’ clicks have a Morse code-like structure, which it found intriguing. It might be easier for artificial intelligence to analyze. Scientists at Reside Science told residents to find the response. They must first gather and analyze an unprecedented amount of sperm whale communication data.

Breaching The Surface

In the past few decades, humans have learned a little about sperm whales. In the 1950s, their sounds became apparent to us. CETI has posted a new study on its website. The 1970s were the first time this sound was known to be used for communication.

There are two purposes to this clicking. First, sperm whales can dive as deep as  4,000 feet. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution claims that the depth of this well outranks a nuclear submarine three to one.

Additionally, they use the same clicking mechanism to communicate socially. However, the CETI paper notes that communication clicks are closer together.

David Gruber, it has been difficult for humans to figure out even this much about sperm whales for so many years. His list includes artificial intelligence, robotics, and drones.

Pratyusha Sharma is a PhD candidate at MIT and a data science researcher at CETI. Specifically, he talked to Live Science about recent advances in artificial intelligence and language modelling. In particular, GPT-3, which built human-like text or stories on command, captured the AI community’s attention last year. Sperm whale vocalizations may also be studied using these same methods.

Whale Language

Approximately 100,000 sperm whale clicks have so far been recorded for the CETI project. However, a machine-learning algorithm may require around 4 billion observations. Therefore, several automated channels are being set up for CETI to collect sperm whale recordings. 

Sperm whales frequent waters where underwater microphones are placed. Microphones are dropped by airborne drones spotting pods of sperm whales at the surface when they spot them. A robot fish is also capable of viewing and listening to whales without disturbing them at a distance.

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It has been reported that many machine-learning algorithms find it difficult to analyze audio rather than text. One word might be harder to separate from another, for instance. Speech barriers are less regular and ambiguous. 

Is It Possible?

So, deciphering patterns may take more data. There are many similarities between the worlds we discuss. Sharma said their actions characterize people. However, the worlds in which the whales live differ greatly.

In addition, sperm whales are known to speak dialects. Royal Society Open Science published a study on this topic in 2016.

Despite the difficulties, the project is so worthwhile because of them. Like the waters they swim in, it’s unknown what sperm whales say to one another. Any answers CETI discovers, however, will only add to this mystery. According to Gruber, the world can be viewed through a new perspective when we try to see it from another’s perspective.

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