Ear: Whales

Project CETI (Cetacean Translation Initiative) has taken on an intriguing task, starting in 2020: Learning how to talk to whales, the Daily Mail reports.

One might wonder how anyone would be able to accomplish such a complex feat, but the answer is in two simple words: artificial intelligence.

Researchers are in the process using listening devices attached to sperm whales to collect 4 billion clicking noises, which will be fed into natural language processing AI. Hopefully the clicks can be translated into a form of communication humans can understand. This is expected to take at least five years.

Once there is a "language," an interactive chatbot will be developed and released into the wild to talk with the whales.

"If we discover that there is an entire civilization basically under our nose," Michael Bronstein of Project CETI said, "maybe it will result in some shift in the way that we treat our environment."

"And," he added, "maybe it will result in more respect for the living world."

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.