Artificial intelligence breakthrough lets humans 'talk' with bats and bees 'changing what we know' about nature
Share this

AI is helping us communicate with animals like never before and scientists are starting small with bats and bees.

Artificial intelligence allows humans to use breakthrough techniques to decode and observe how animals talk so we can try and talk back.

Bats and bees have been the subjects of recent AI experiments


Bats and bees have been the subjects of recent AI experimentsCredit: Getty

Scientific American spoke with Professor Karen Bakker who is the author of the new book “The Sounds of Life: How Digital Technology Is Bringing Us Closer to the Worlds of Animals and Plant”.

She told the news outlet that AI is already helping humans communicate with bats and honey bees and this could change what we know about nature and our nonhuman relationships.

Bakker says AI algorithms are being used to decode recordings of animals communicating with one another.

Trying to communicate in their language could be better than previous attempts to teach creatures like apes to use human sign language.

Bakker gave an example of researcher Yossi Yovel who used recordings and AI to understand bats.

She told Scientific American: “Bats argue over food; they actually distinguish between genders when they communicate with one another; they have individual names, or “signature calls.”

“Mother bats speak to their babies in an equivalent of “motherese.”

“But whereas human mothers raise the pitch of their voices when talking to babies, mother bats lower the pitch—which elicits a babble response in the babies that learn to “speak” specific words or referential signals as they grow up. So bats engage in vocal learning.”

She added: “That’s a great example of how deep learning is able to derive these patterns from [this] instrumentation, all of these sensors and microphones, and reveal to us something that we could not access with the naked human ear.”

Without AI it would be extremely difficult to decode what the bats are saying.

This is because most bats communicate above the human hearing range and they “talk” a lot faster.

Humans can’t listen like a bat but a computer can be trained to.

Professor Bakker also had a lot to say about honey bees.

She said: “When honeybees “speak” to one another, it’s their body movements, as well as the sounds, that matter.

“Now computers, and particularly deep-learning algorithms, are able to follow this because you can use computer vision, combined with natural language processing.

“They have now perfected these algorithms to the point where they’re actually able to track individual bees, and they’re able to determine what impact the communication of an individual might have on another bee.

“From that emerges the ability to decode honeybee language.”

Bakker says researchers now know how bees say things like “hush” or “stop”.

A researcher called Tim Landgraf even created a robot honey bee that entered a hive and was able to communicate with the other bees.

It was said to be able to tell the other bees to stop and even where to fly.

Although Bakker presents the research as a good thing, she does note that it raises “a lot of philosophical and ethical questions.”

Tesco has made a big change to loo roll - and customers are not happy
I’m a traveller & my easy 80p Dunelm hack gets grimey windows sparkling clean

Scientists won’t be stopping with bats and bees and lots of other animals could be communicated with.

There are even said to be plans for scientists to try and talk to plants.

Share this
You May Also Like

People are only just realising there’s a free way to boost your WiFi speed

BRITS are only just realising there is a simple and free way…

Union accuses Apple of firing workers in retaliation for organizing

The Communications Workers of America union is alleging that Apple fired five…

NHTSA investigating Tesla Model X seatbelt failures

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently investigating (pdf)…

Popular 2022 free game is going offline – find out if you’re affected

One of the most popular free-to-play games released in 2022 is going…

Clever sign-up trick reduces Echo Dot to £9.58 in Amazon Spring Sale

AMAZON is slashing prices in its Spring Sale event, and there are…

Gamers go wild for new Zelda trailer – next game brings huge changes

THE LEGEND of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was one of the…

Scientists erupt at NASA gutting funding for crucial Venus mission

This month saw the announcement of one of the most exciting findings…

Kia sees an opening to dominate the full-size electric SUV segment with its big, boxy EV9

Kia is ready to pull the wraps on its next big electric…

Worst ever characters in gaming

SOME of the sweetest and cosiest games have characters so annoying they…

Amazon shoppers rush to buy Samsung A53 for 29% less in Spring Sale

YOU can pick up some bargains on top brands in the Amazon…

Lucid’s laying off 18 percent of its workers

Photo by Tim Stevens for The Verge Lucid, the EV startup behind…

iPhone owners must never put their handsets in four ‘danger’ areas – you may be risking your life

YOUR iPhone can go almost anywhere with you – but there are…