Researchers are making enormous progress in using AI to decipher animal language, but also to generate synthetic animal sounds without knowing what the sounds actually mean. This is due to the nature of current AI. Thanks to foundation models we can grasp the “essence” of something (e.g. a concept like a face or a language) without truly understanding what goes on inside the blackbox of AI. Aza Raskin, co-founder of Earth Species Project, thinks between 2024-2028 we will get to a stage in which we can fluently speak with an animal. But the plottwist is that understanding WHAT we will be saying is something completely different. Still a lot of work to do, but we live in incredible times!

Some interesting sources for you to check out:
Will AI Enable us to Understand and Communicate with Animals? – Jane Lawton, Director of Impact at Earth Species Project [February 2024, Youtube]

Using AI to Decode Animal Communication – Aza Raskin co-founder of Earth Species Project [2023, YouTube]

My Octopus Teacher | Official Trailer | Netflix (2021)

How AI is decoding the animal kingdom – [2024, Jan 18, Financial Times [TP: Highly recommend this one. It’s an awesome visual way of storytelling]]

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? – Frans de Waal (2016) –> Interesting for background / learning about Umwelt