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Link: The way whales communicate is closer to human language than we realized

A team of researchers led by Pratyusha Sharma at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) working with Project CETI, a nonprofit focused on using AI to understand whales, used statistical models to analyze whale codas and managed to identify a structure to their language that’s similar to features of the complex vocalizations humans use. Their findings represent a tool future research could use to decipher not just the structure but the actual meaning of whale sounds. The team analyzed recordings of 8,719 codas from around 60 whales collected by the Dominica Sperm Whale Project between 2005 and 2018, using a mix of algorithms for pattern recognition and classification. They found that the way the whales communicate was not random or simplistic, but structured depending on the context of their conversations. This allowed them to identify distinct vocalizations that hadn’t been previously picked up on. #


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