What do dolphin researcher Diana Reiss, musician Peter Gabriel, MIT Internet visionary Neil Gershenfeld and Vint Cerf, Father of the Internet have in common? Give up?
They’re all interested in interspecies communication.
The power quartet got together in 2012 to discuss the development of a new framework allowing different species to communicate among themselves to assist in species conservation, protection and awareness. Interspecies Internet is the result – it’s a non-profit organization that aims to connect “like-minded artistic and scientific projects“. The first animal broadcasters: apes, dolphins, elephants and orangutans; all known for their amazing capacity for communication.
So their question is: “Could the Internet be expanded to include sentient species like them?” Yes, we think it can. Mobile technology, miniaturization, HD cameras, drones all linked into the new “Internet of Things” could soon be designed to incorporate animal sanctuaries and researchers allowing supporters to connect directly to the animals they love and whose stories they feel compelled to share. The implications for animal advocacy are limitless.
“I’m a farm boy, I grew up surrounded by animals, and I would look in these eyes and wonder what was going on there.” Peter Gabriel
At 4:38 in the video above, Peter Gabriel speaks about a pivotal experience – pay close attention to his clip. He visited Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, the primatologist and psychologist who studies chimpanzee linguistic and cognitive abilities. You may not know Sue by name, but you may have heard of her famous Bonobo chimpanzee student, the late Panbanisha.
In this clip with Panbanisha Peter Gabriel sings to her and she plays a song about grooming. Watch this clip carefully and your mind will expand ten fold. Panbanisha plays along with Peter singing and for these all too brief moments there is a palpable magic which transcends space, time and species. Here is a primate cousin, a chimpanzee who many average humans would say is “just an animal” who has been raised with language. Her short performance speaks volumes on the capacity for other species to communicate their thoughts and feelings.
This was the first time Panbanisha played a keyboard.
We hope to link up the captive species who already have demonstrated a cognitive and linguistic understanding of interspecies communication from facility to facility (especially the families that have been separated), and additionally to their species in their native lands. Schoolchildren in the native regions where these animals are in danger, would be able to communicate with the animals via tablet and learn that these animals are intelligent and friendly.