What do Dr. Dolittle, a children’s book character, and artificial intelligence (AI) have in common? But, of course, they both understand the language of animals! Already, AI allows humans to give commands to robots like Alexa. But now, a whole new horizon lies ahead. Could it enable us to understand and, perhaps one day, even “talk” to the animal kingdom?
First Attempts to Decode the Language of Animals
Countless projects are being undertaken in an attempt to reveal the secrets of animal communication with the use of AI. One of them is the Earth Species Project, which published a paper in December 2022. Authors of the study argue it’s solved the “cocktail party problem” – an issue that arises when multiple sounds are heard simultaneously.
Scientists used an experimental algorithm to determine which individual in a given group of animals is talking at a given moment. It was applied in studying bottlenose dolphins, macaques, and Egyptian fruit bats.
In other spheres of zoology, AI has been used to extract information from recordings. Those include identifying marine animals through underwater recordings. It even judges if an animal is under stress based on ultrasonic calls of rodents. While that might not be speaking animal languages as we understand it, it’s undoubtedly a step forward in the right direction.
Identifying Animal Communication
The first problem in studying communication between animals is determining precisely what “communication” means. For example, humans convey their thoughts and feelings through verbal sounds. That method isn’t universal, though. Dogs wag their tails to show they’re happy, and bees dance to show fellow bees they’ve found a good source of food. Dolphins communicate via clicks and whistles.
There’s still some debate in scientific spheres as to whether that can be considered a “language.” Some experts believe AI will put that debate to rest once and for all. While we don’t yet understand what is considered “language” in the animal kingdom, AI can enable humans to determine language-like structures in how they communicate.
How AI Translates Animal “Talk”
Associate Professor in Animal Behaviour and Communication at the University of Copenhagen, Elodie F. Briefer, believes bioacoustics research has already revealed the potential of AI. Different types of animal vocalizations, or “talk,” carry information. That can be warning other members of an external object or event or voicing one’s status, etc.
AI could pick up on those vocalizations and help us decode the language of animals. In theory, machine learning can be used to process and study recordings of animal communication, ultimately creating language models based on the findings.
Proton Mail Will Offer Message Scheduling, Email Categorization, and More
Proton, based in Switzerland, has hinted at some important upgrades for its core Proton Mail and calendar services. Although Proton has diversified over the years into VPNs and storage, encrypted email is still supreme and is possibly the most important aspect of its most recent disclosure.
Proton Mail’s New Features
Proton frequently promotes itself as Google’s antithesis, but at least in terms of privacy, the business has a busy roadmap for the next few months that will bring new features that are similar to those of Gmail.
Other upcoming upgrades that Proton will make include email reminders. They will allow users to set an alarm to remember to reply at a later time. They also added the ability to “snooze” emails.
Email Tracking, Focus on Privacy
Proton also disclosed that it would be introducing new tools that can be used to disable email tracking. This will make it impossible for businesses or individuals to determine when an email was opened and render the data useless. This is more in line with Proton’s focus on improving privacy.
Future updates won’t just affect Proton Mail. Nearly a year after it was launched on Android, the company is getting ready to release a native calendar app for the iPhone. Also, it will be releasing new three-day and seven-day views for the Proton calendar app.
Proton Drive Cloud Storage
With its Proton drive cloud storage just going into beta on the web, Proton is planning to roll out deeper synergies across its product range. They may include email attachments larger than the 25 MB limit for Proton mail which will be instantly uploaded to Proton drive and made accessible to the recipient via a secure link.
One Sign-In, Access to Multiple Services!
Proton also announced that it was bringing single sign-on (SSO) to mobile. This would allow users of Proton’s apps to access each service with only one sign-in. SSO is now only available through a web browser.
Proton isn’t yet revealing any particular dates for anything. However, it did indicate that Proton Mail’s email scheduling and email-tracking blocker, as well as the new iPhone calendar app and the three-day and seven-day calendar views, will be available within the next month.
Everything else will touch released throughout 2023, at various intervals.