Project aims to help humans communicate with animals — and aliens

Josh Peterson Contributor
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British musician Peter Gabriel, along with famed computer scientist Vint Cerf and several research scientists, seek to develop capabilities for animals to communicate with humans through the Internet.

Speaking at a recent TED conference in California, Gabriel proposed that a networked video streaming platform could be used to communicate with other animals, Agence France-Presse reported Friday. The platform has yet to go live online.

“What would happen if we could somehow find new interfaces — visual, audio — to allow us to communicate with the remarkable beings we share the planet with?” Gabriel asked.

Also appearing with Gabriel at the conference were Cerf, MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld and cognitive psychologist Diana Reiss.

Their project, called the “Interspecies Internet,” received seed funding February 28.

The Interspecies Internet is being created, according to the project’s Facebook Page, to “explore, encourage and facilitate communication between cognitive species.”

Cerf, who is credited as one of the early fathers of the Internet, hopes that the effort will prepare humanity to one day communicate with aliens. Laurance Doyle, an astronomer with the SETI Institute, proposed a similar idea, Wired reported in 2011.

Significant research over the past several years has focused on decoding the complex language of dolphins.

In May 2010 Jack Kassewitz — a research scientist with, a dolphin communication research project — began teaching dolphins how to use the Apple iPad as part of his efforts to develop a language interface for dolphins and humans to communicate with one another.

In 2011, Kassewitz made a breakthrough when he communicated with dolphins using recordings of eight of their own sounds.

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