Soon divers carrying a computer with a special translator will take to the waters to try and receive, translate, and send signals to dolphins. According to New Scientist,
Dr. Denise L Herzing–future dolphin translator and founder of the Wild Dophin Project–and her colleagues have been working on trying to establish two-way communication with dolphins since the late 1990s.
The scientists first tried to get the dolphins to accociate rudimentary sounds with four large icons on an underwater keyboard. But since the first attempts Herzing has moved on to more complex methods surely to confuse any linguist; now, collaborating with Thad Starner, the director of the Contextual Computing Group and artificial intelligence researcher at Georgia Institute of Technology, the group plans to co-create a language with dolphins.
The project, called Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry (CHAT) (sometimes I think they come up with acronyms first and then the name of the project), will use sounds that dolphins can naturally create to communicate back and fourth. The researchers will record the sounds made by the dolphins and then associate some of them with eight different words that the team has coined to mean something like “seaweed.”
Once the dolphins realize what the researchers are trying to relay, the team will move onto a more complex task of trying to figure out exactly how dolphin communication works (dolphin-ese as coined by Time) and also to co-create a language of sounds that humans and dolphins can use to talk to one-another. Check out the details at New Scientist.
It’s an awesome idea if you ask me! I can’t wait to know if they prefer the mackerel or the shrimp.