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An international project will try to identify the language of whales for the first time

This week Project CETI (Cetacean Translation Initiative) was launched. The project, which will last at least 5 years, is a multidisciplinary project that will combine knowledge from the fields of marine biology, marine acoustics, artificial intelligence, linguistics and more

We all know the song of the whales, but will we soon be able to understand their language and maybe even communicate with them? In an ambitious project that is the first of its kind in the world, researchers from the University of Haifa, CUNY in New York, Harvard University, MIT and other partners seek to decipher the language of sperm whales and even create the basis for a first-of-its-kind dialogue with the giant sea mammals.

At a press conference held this week (19.4.21) in Dominica in the Caribbean, where the research will begin, the researchers launched Project CETI (Cetacean Translation Initiative). The project, which will last at least 5 years, is a multidisciplinary project that will combine knowledge from the fields of marine biology, marine acoustics, artificial intelligence, linguistics and more, it will be aided by innovative underwater robots and, of course, hundreds of hours of diving that will enable the bond between the divers and the first whales, which can reach a weight of about -50 tons and 18 meters long.

"The whalers make clicking sounds when hunting and other sounds, at other frequencies, when they are in the company of other whales - in what is apparently a type of social activity in a tribal structure. Are these just simple codes of communication or maybe a real language? The truth is, we don't have a large enough database, so we just don't know. In light of the progress of artificial intelligence and computer learning capabilities, we came up with the idea that if we manage to collect enough information - about the voices, about their social context, about the relationship between certain sounds and certain behavior - we could develop algorithms that would tell us whether it is a language or not. And of course our big dream is that if it turns out that it is indeed a language, we might be able to communicate with the whales", said Prof. Danny Chernov from the Leon Cherny School of Marine Sciences at the University of Haifa, one of the leaders of the research.

The one who stands at the head of the unique project is Prof. David Gruber, head of the scientific project from CUNY. Prof. Chernov is the operative director of the project and a member of the leading scientific committee. Other leading names are Prof. Shefi Goldwasser, from Berkeley/MIT, who specializes in computer science and cryptography, Prof. Rob Wood from Harvard, director of the robotics department, Prof. Michael (Michael) Bronstein, head of the artificial intelligence department from Imperial College, Prof. Shane Giro, The leading researcher of the first whales today in the world and more.

Along with Prof. Chernov, the researchers of the University of Haifa who take part in the project are Dr. Roi Diamant, who specializes in underwater acoustics, also from the School of Marine Sciences, and Dr. Bracha Nir, head of the Department of Communication Disorders. Haifa University researchers are responsible for the establishment and operation of the research station in Dominica, for the establishment of the array of research vessels, the array of buoys, the array of robots and, in fact, the entire operative side of the research. "It is a great pride for us to lead one of the most fascinating research projects ever done in the marine arena, and whose research findings have a significant impact on these extraordinary animals," said Prof. Chernov, Dr. Diamant and Dr. Nir.

"The participation of three researchers from the university in the prestigious research project alongside the world's leading researchers from Harvard, MIT and Berkeley, attests to the extensive research that is done at the university and the School of Marine Sciences in particular," said Prof. Ron Rubin, president of the University of Haifa.

4 תגובות

  1. Beautiful! So we have one person who saw one case where the American media smeared him, but still didn't face that it wasn't the single case, but the whole system. That person is invited to get out of his resonance bubble that includes the accepted media channels, and the search engines of Google, YouTube and Facebook and look for the truth about other statements by Trump. I have no desire to defend everything Trump has said, but he and others may be surprised by what they find out, also about bleach. They are also more than welcome to read the books I recommended in the first response.

    I am also amused by this mechanism, where the writer of articles on the website makes such small comments, definitely political, as an irrelevant introduction to another topic, expecting that no one will catch a signal with this bullshit, and when someone does catch it, immediately jumps on someone else's side and hopes that the website will not be dragged into the swamp The political, not before he makes several political comments of his own, of course. So much for self-awareness.

  2. To Mr. Ipsom: Oh oh! Real news: among the million nonsense that Trump spewed (have you already drunk bleach against covid?) one thing (!) turned out to be true (if you believe someone who calls himself a liberal and at the same time supports Trump). Definitely a job of a man bitten by a dog and deserves to be at the top of the news.

    But more importantly than that: I think it's worth keeping this site free of politics. There are a million political websites in Hebrew, but almost zero websites whose main topic is science.

  3. Hebrew is a hard language ?
    Even if the project is international, it is appropriate to say and write
    In Hebrew, it is a project, not a project in Laz...

  4. I'm afraid that the future of the website is a little afraid of peer review, so the possibility to respond to his articles has been canceled. He is probably right in his concerns, especially in view of the incorrect definition he provides at the very beginning of the article for the term "fake news". In short, fake news is not what Trump said. Since time immemorial, politicians have said a lot of things that the connection between them and reality does not necessarily exist (and Trump, not being a politician, provided true words at a very alarming rate). Fake news is what the media say about the things Trump said.

    At this point, I have nothing but to direct Atidan the honorable house to conduct research and he is more than welcome to read the book "The Workshop for Consciousness Engineering" by Hanan Amior, who deals with the Israeli media, and "Agents of Ignorance (How the Institutional Media Strives Against the Free Society)" by Mark Levin, who deals with in the US media. Both are available in Hebrew, and I don't know which one is more horrifying for the Israeli news consumer.

    And finally, a little gem from the last day about Trump, the media, and what becomes clear after a few months of false reports:

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