Scientists predict AI will allow us to translate dolphin language by 2021

dolphins natural language processing 7420254  pair of swimming in water
AI-driven natural language processing is getting better and better at understanding languages spoken in every country around the world. It doesn’t have to stop at land-based languages, however — as Swedish-based language startup Gavagai AB is keen to prove.

Working with researchers from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Gavagai AB is currently involved in a four-year project, designed to gather as much “dolphin language data” as possible, and to use this to decode the chatter of everyone’s favorite aquatic mammals.

In theory, learning what a dolphin is saying is no different to understanding other languages. Research has suggested that dolphins communicate in a language not entirely dissimilar to our own, relying on sentences composed of individual words in which the order dictates meaning. They even pause to let one another speak. Decoding this conversation relies on the same ability to draw links between sounds and meaning as would be the case with any other language — only with what one imagines includes a higher propensity to talk about tasty types of fish.

Such a system could even conceivably be used to reverse-engineer software allowing humans to communicate with dolphins by translating messages into the appropriate lines of Flipper chat. How far this will get by 2021, when the project ends, remains to be seen, but this promises to be of interest to both AI practitioners and zoologists alike.

Gavagai AB CEO Lars Hamberg stressed to Digital Trends that there are no obvious commercial applications for dolphin translation, although it’s certainly interesting to think of possible use-cases. The U.S. Navy, for instance, has previously used military dolphins for tasks including rescuing lost swimmers and locating underwater mines. This training could presumably be made easier, and other tasks added, if a more direct line of communication between man and dolphin is made possible.

But Hamberg stressed that understanding dolphins is far from the only thing Gavagai AB is working on. Right now, he is in Silicon Valley speaking with investors about raising additional capital to continue developing the Gavagai AB technology.

“The dolphin research has gone haywire in terms of publicity, but the truth is that it’s one of many, many projects that we’re doing,” Hamberg told us. “Over the last seven years, we’ve spent about $9 million working on implementing this research into an industrial scale implementation that can understand 45 different languages. On a lot of benchmark measures, we outperform all of our rivals. We’re now gaining a lot of interest, having toiled away under the radar for a long time.”

In other words, click click whistle click whistle. (That’s dolphin speak for “keep watching this space.”)

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

DeepSqueak is a machine learning A.I. that reveals what rats are chatting about

Want to know what rats are squeaking about? You'd better check out DeepSqueak, the new deep learning artificial intelligence developed by researchers at the University of Washington.

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.

The HoloLens 2 will be announced at MWC. Here's what we know about it so far

The HoloLens 2 is ripe for an announcement. Here's what Microsoft has revealed so far, what's likely in store for the next generation HoloLens, and everything that we know about this mixed reality headset.
Emerging Tech

We tried a $500 electronic dab rig, and now we can’t go back to normal vaporizers

Induction heating is the future of cannabis vaporizers. Loto Labs wowed us with what likely is the best concentrate vaporizer on the market today. With a $500 price tag, it's expensive, but it should definitely be your next dab rig.
Emerging Tech

Israel will launch world’s first privately funded moon mission tomorrow

This week will see the world's first privately funded lunar mission launch. Israel's first mission to the moon will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, February 21.
Emerging Tech

FDA warns about the dangers of anti-aging blood transfusions

It turns out injecting old people with blood from healthy youngsters may not be the answer to health rejuvenation. That’s according to the FDA, which says such claims are dangerous junk science.
Emerging Tech

Bees can do arithmetic, setting the scientific community abuzz

A new study has found something remarkable: Bees can do basic arithmetic. Researchers showed that bees could use colors as representations for numbers and then use those colors for addition and subtraction.
Health & Fitness

Immune cell discovery takes us one step closer to a universal flu vaccine

A group of international researchers have made a discovery which could take us one step closer to the universal, one-shot flu vaccine that people around the world have been dreaming of.

NASA celebrates Earth’s incredible natural beauty with free photo book

NASA has published a fabulous new book featuring stunning imagery captured by its satellites over the years. A hardback version is available for $53, though it can also be downloaded to ebook readers for free, and enjoyed online.

This new all-in-one flashlight is a power bank, lighter, and screwdriver

The Pyyros modular flashlight can perform numerous field tasks, from hammering to starting fires. If you back it on Kickstarter now, you can score some savings on this innovative flashlight and multi-tool, but act fast: This early-bird…
Movies & TV

Hilarious new Kickstarter aims to fix Scorcese’s last scene in The Departed

A fan of The Departed and apparent hater of rat-as-symbolism imagery has launched a Kickstarter campaign to digitally erase the rodent from the end of Martin Scorsese’s 2006 movie.
Emerging Tech

Baristas beware, Bbox cafe uses robots to brew your morning coffee

Want your morning coffee and pastry prepared by robot? Bbox, a new coffee shop in downtown Berkeley, California, lets customers place their order by app and then uses automation to take care of the rest.
Emerging Tech

This ridiculous new flamethrower makes Elon Musk’s look like a cigarette lighter

The XL18 Flamethrower is a flame-shooting beast on steroids, capable of firing off bursts of flame more than 110 feet in length. The best part? You can order it over the internet today.