Talking To Whales.
Money for nothing.
1. Researchers believe that artificial intelligence may allow us to speak to other species. The world’s largest predators, sperm whales spend most of their lives hunting. To find their prey—generally squid—in the darkness of the depths, they rely on echolocation. By means of a specialized organ in their heads, they generate streams of clicks that bounce off any solid (or semi-solid) object. Sperm whales also produce quick bursts of clicks, known as codas, which they exchange with one another. The exchanges seem to have the structure of conversation. One day, Gruber was sitting in his office at the Radcliffe Institute, listening to a tape of sperm whales chatting, when another fellow at the institute, Shafi Goldwasser, happened by. Goldwasser, a Turing Award-winning computer scientist, was intrigued. At the time, she was organizing a seminar on machine learning, which was advancing in ways that would eventually lead to ChatGPT. Perhaps, Goldwasser mused, machine learning could be used to discover the meaning of the whales’ exchanges. Gruber and Goldwasser took the idea of decoding the codas to a third Radcliffe fellow, Michael Bronstein. Bronstein, also a computer scientist, is now the DeepMind Professor of A.I. at Oxford. Gruber kept pushing the idea. Among the experts who found it loopy and, at the same time, irresistible were Robert Wood, a roboticist at Harvard, and Daniela Rus, who runs M.I.T.’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Thus was born the Cetacean Translation Initiative—Project ceti for short. ceti represents the most ambitious, the most technologically sophisticated, and the most well-funded effort ever made to communicate with another species. (Source: newyorker.com)