Help keep One Green Planet free and independent! Together we can ensure our platform remains a hub for empowering ideas committed to fighting for a sustainable, healthy, and compassionate world. Please support us in keeping our mission strong.

Animal language researchers are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to decipher animal languages and translate their findings into human language. DeepSqueak is a machine-learning software that can automatically detect, analyze and categorize the ultrasonic vocalizations of rodents, as well as primates.

Researchers often look to animals to understand natural and social phenomena. The naturalist accounts of studying animals’ communication systems and cognitive abilities date back to Eugène Marais’, The Soul Of The White Ant (1934), a meticulous description of the psychology of termites and specifically the organic unity of the termite nest. However, the standards for animal languages remain controversial within the research community.

The concept of information-sharing is deemed a requisite element of many formal definitions of communication, in contrast to the “fit-for-purpose” language used in the animal kingdom. Newer research into animal languages is more technology-driven, addressing previous methodological challenges by measuring the rate of information transmission and the complexity of transmitted messages.

Source: Michele Bishop/YouTube

A 2021 study from the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Biology used AI technology to analyze more than 7000 vocal indicators, spanning the lives of pigs from birth to slaughter. The study showed that the assumed emotional valence and the context of vocal production could be correctly cross-classified above chance levels, despite variability in age, sex, body size, and situation. Before this research, a 2017 study successfully classified nine facial action units of sheep used to estimate pain levels via the detection of sheep faces, localization of facial landmarks, normalization, and then extraction of facial features.

The rapt development of our understanding of animal language means that humans now have the opportunity to understand and respond more empathetically to animals. For example, Zoolingua invented a mobile application that translates dog body language and vocalizations to English. Google invested in the development of the Translate for Animals application that recognizes and transcribes words and phrases that are common to an animal species. These companies believe their technologies could help reduce animal suffering by helping their humans hear and understand their furry friends‘ fears, pain, and needs.

As all research on animal behavior is fundamentally anthropomorphic, there are challenges to interpreting what we learn from animal language translation, such as the potential to manipulate their communications or misinterpreting what we see. However, we can also understand why animals act in a selfless way, why fish have emotional temperaments, and how cats learn the other cats’ names and faces.

If you want to know what your pet is thinking, take this quiz to find out!

Related Content:

For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Also, don’t forget to download the Food Monster App on the App Store. With over 15,000 delicious recipes, it is the largest meatless, vegan, and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! Lastly, being publicly funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!