The interspecies Internet? An idea in progress…

Diana Reiss: You may think you’re looking through a window at a dolphin
spinning playfully, but what you’re actually looking through is a two-way mirror at a dolphin looking at itself spinning playfully. This is a dolphin that is self-aware. This dolphin has self-awareness. It’s a young dolphin named Bayley. I’ve been very interested
in understanding the nature of the intelligence of dolphins
for the past 30 years. How do we explore
intelligence in this animal that’s so different from us? And what I’ve used is a very
simple research tool, a mirror, and we’ve gained
great information, reflections of these animal minds. Dolphins aren’t the only animals,
the only non-human animals, to show mirror self-recognition. We used to think this
was a uniquely human ability, but we learned that the great
apes, our closest relatives, also show this ability. Then we showed it in dolphins, and then later in elephants. We did this work in my lab
with the dolphins and elephants, and it’s been recently
shown in the magpie. Now, it’s interesting,
because we’ve embraced this Darwinian view of a continuity
in physical evolution, this physical continuity. But we’ve been much more
reticent, much slower at recognizing this
continuity in cognition, in emotion, in consciousness
in other animals. Other animals are conscious. They’re emotional. They’re aware. There have been multitudes
of studies with many species over the years that have
given us exquisite evidence for thinking and consciousness
in other animals, other animals that are quite
different than we are in form. We are not alone. We are not alone in these abilities. And I hope, and one of my biggest dreams, is that, with our growing awareness about the consciousness of others and our relationship with the rest
of the animal world, that we’ll give them
the respect and protection that they deserve. So that’s a wish I’m throwing
out here for everybody, and I hope I can really
engage you in this idea. Now, I want to return to dolphins, because these are the animals
that I feel like I’ve been working up closely
and personal with for over 30 years. And these are real personalities. They are not persons,
but they’re personalities in every sense of the word. And you can’t get more
alien than the dolphin. They are very different
from us in body form. They’re radically different. They come
from a radically different environment. In fact, we’re separated
by 95 million years of divergent evolution. Look at this body. And in every sense of making a pun here, these are true non-terrestrials. I wondered how we might
interface with these animals. In the 1980s, I developed
an underwater keyboard. This was a custom-made
touch-screen keyboard. What I wanted to do was give
the dolphins choice and control. These are big brains,
highly social animals, and I thought, well, if we give
them choice and control, if they can hit a symbol
on this keyboard — and by the way, it was interfaced
by fiber optic cables from Hewlett-Packard
with an Apple II computer. This seems prehistoric now, but this was where
we were with technology. So the dolphins could hit a key, a symbol, they heard a computer-generated whistle, and they got an object or activity. Now here’s a little video. This is Delphi and Pan,
and you’re going to see Delphi hitting a key, he hears a computer-generated
whistle — (Whistle) — and gets a ball, so they can
actually ask for things they want. What was remarkable is,
they explored this keyboard on their own. There was no
intervention on our part. They explored the keyboard.
They played around with it. They figured out how it worked. And they started to quickly
imitate the sounds they were hearing on the keyboard. They imitated on their own. Beyond that, though, they started learning associations
between the symbols, the sounds and the objects. What we saw was self-organized learning, and now I’m imagining, what can we do with new technologies? How can we create interfaces,
new windows into the minds of animals,
with the technologies that exist today? So I was thinking about this,
and then, one day, I got a call from Peter. Peter Gabriel: I make noises for a living. On a good day, it’s music, and I want to talk a little bit about the most amazing music-making
experience I ever had. 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? So as an adult, when
I started to read about the amazing breakthroughs
with Penny Patterson and Koko, with Sue Savage-Rumbaugh
and Kanzi, Panbanisha, Irene Pepperberg, Alex the parrot, I got all excited. What was amazing to me also was they seemed a lot more adept at getting a handle on our language than we were on getting
a handle on theirs. I work with a lot of musicians
from around the world, and often we don’t have
any common language at all, but we sit down behind our instruments, and suddenly there’s a way
for us to connect and emote. So I started cold-calling,
and eventually got through to Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, and she invited me down. I went down, and the bonobos had had access to percussion instruments, musical toys, but never
before to a keyboard. At first they did what infants do, just bashed it with their fists, and then I asked, through Sue, if Panbanisha could try
with one finger only. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh: Can
you play a grooming song? I want to hear a grooming song. Play a real quiet grooming song. PG: So groom was the subject of the piece. (Music) So I’m just behind, jamming, yeah, this is what we started with. Sue’s encouraging her
to continue a little more. (Music) She discovers a note she likes, finds the octave. She’d never sat at a keyboard before. Nice triplets. SSR: You did good. That was very good. PG: She hit good. (Applause) So that night, we began to dream, and we thought, perhaps
the most amazing tool that man’s created is the Internet, and what would happen if we could somehow find new interfaces, visual-audio interfaces that would allow these remarkable sentient beings that we share the planet with access? And Sue Savage-Rumbaugh
got excited about that, called her friend Steve Woodruff, and we began hustling all sorts of people whose work related or was inspiring, which led us to Diana, and led us to Neil. Neil Gershenfeld: Thanks, Peter.
PG: Thank you. (Applause) NG: So Peter approached me. I lost it when I saw that clip. He approached me with a vision
of doing these things not for people, for animals. And then I was struck
in the history of the Internet. This is what the Internet
looked like when it was born and you can call that the Internet of middle-aged white men, mostly middle-aged white men. Vint Cerf: (Laughs) (Laughter) NG: Speaking as one. Then, when I first came to TED, which was where I met
Peter, I showed this. This is a $1 web server, and at the time that was radical. And the possibility of making
a web server for a dollar grew into what became known
as the Internet of Things, which is literally an industry
now with tremendous implications for health care, energy efficiency. And we were happy with ourselves. And then when Peter showed me that, I realized we had missed something, which is the rest of the planet. So we started up this
interspecies Internet project. Now we started talking with TED about how you bring dolphins
and great apes and elephants to TED, and we realized
that wouldn’t work. So we’re going to bring you to them. So if we could switch
to the audio from this computer, we’ve been video conferencing
with cognitive animals, and we’re going to have each of them just briefly introduce them. And so if we could also
have this up, great. So the first site we’re going to meet is Cameron Park Zoo
in Waco, with orangutans. In the daytime they live outside.
It’s nighttime there now. So can you please go ahead? Terri Cox: Hi, I’m Terri Cox with the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas, and with me I have KeraJaan and Mei, two of our Bornean orangutans. During the day, they have
a beautiful, large outdoor habitat, and at night, they come into this habitat, into their night quarters, where they can have a climate-controlled and secure environment to sleep in. We participate in the Apps
for Apes program Orangutan Outreach, and we use iPads to help stimulate and enrich the animals, and also help raise awareness for these critically endangered animals. And they share 97 percent of our DNA and are incredibly intelligent, so it’s so exciting to think
of all the opportunities that we have via technology
and the Internet to really enrich their lives
and open up their world. We’re really excited about the possibility of an interspecies Internet, and K.J. has
been enjoying the conference very much. NG: That’s great. When we were
rehearsing last night, he had fun watching the elephants. Next user group are the dolphins
at the National Aquarium. Please go ahead. Allison Ginsburg: Good evening. Well, my name is Allison Ginsburg, and we’re live in Baltimore
at the National Aquarium. Joining me are three of our eight Atlantic
bottlenose dolphins: 20-year-old Chesapeake,
who was our first dolphin born here, her four-year-old daughter Bayley, and her half sister, 11-year-old Maya. Now, here at the National Aquarium we are committed to excellence
in animal care, to research, and to conservation. The dolphins are pretty intrigued
as to what’s going on here tonight. They’re not really used
to having cameras here at 8 o’clock at night. In addition, we are very
committed to doing different types of research. As Diana mentioned,
our animals are involved in many different research studies. NG: Those are for you. Okay, that’s great, thank you. And the third user group, in Thailand, is Think Elephants. Go ahead, Josh. Josh Plotnik: Hi, my name is Josh Plotnik, and I’m with Think
Elephants International, and we’re here in the Golden
Triangle of Thailand with the Golden Triangle Asian
Elephant Foundation elephants. And we have 26 elephants here, and our research is focused on the evolution
of intelligence with elephants, but our foundation Think
Elephants is focused on bringing elephants
into classrooms around the world virtually like this and showing people how incredible these animals are. So we’re able to bring the camera
right up to the elephant, put food into the elephant’s mouth, show people what’s going
on inside their mouths, and show everyone around the world how incredible these animals really are. NG: Okay, that’s great. Thanks Josh. And once again, we’ve been building
great relationships among them just
since we’ve been rehearsing. So at that point, if we can go
back to the other computer, we were starting to think
about how you integrate the rest of the biomass
of the planet into the Internet, and we went to the best possible person I can think of, which is Vint Cerf, who is one of the founders
who gave us the Internet. Vint? VC: Thank you, Neil. (Applause) A long time ago in a galaxy
— oops, wrong script. Forty years ago, Bob Kahn and I did the design of the Internet. Thirty years ago, we turned it on. Just last year, we turned
on the production Internet. You’ve been using the experimental version for the last 30 years. The production version,
it uses IP version 6. It has 3.4 times 10 to the 38th
possible terminations. That’s a number only that Congress
can appreciate. But it leads to what is coming next. When Bob and I did this design, we thought we were building a system
to connect computers together. What we very quickly discovered is that this was a system
for connecting people together. And what you’ve seen tonight tells you that we should
not restrict this network to one species, that these other intelligent,
sentient species should be part of the system too. This is the system as it
looks today, by the way. This is what the Internet
looks like to a computer that’s trying to figure
out where the traffic is supposed to go. This is generated by a program that’s looking at the connectivity
of the Internet, and how all the various networks
are connected together. There are about 400,000
networks, interconnected, run independently by 400,000
different operating agencies, and the only reason this works is that they all use the same
standard TCP/IP protocols. Well, you know where this is headed. The Internet of Things tell us that a lot of computer-enabled
appliances and devices are going to become part
of this system too: appliances that you use around the house, that you use in your office, that you carry around with yourself
or in the car. That’s the Internet
of Things that’s coming. Now, what’s important
about what these people are doing is that they’re beginning to learn how to communicate with species that are not us but share a common sensory environment. We’re beginning to explore what it means to communicate with something that isn’t just another person. Well, you can see what’s coming next. All kinds of possible sentient beings may be interconnected through this system, and I can’t wait to see
these experiments unfold. What happens after that? Well, let’s see. There are machines that need
to talk to machines and that we need to talk to,
and so as time goes on, we’re going to have to learn how to communicate with computers and how to get computers
to communicate with us in the way that we’re accustomed to, not with keyboards, not with mice, but with speech and gestures and all the natural human language
that we’re accustomed to. So we’ll need something like C3PO to become a translator between ourselves and some of the other
machines we live with. Now, there is a project that’s underway called the interplanetary Internet. It’s in operation between Earth and Mars. It’s operating on the International
Space Station. It’s part of the spacecraft
that’s in orbit around the Sun that’s rendezvoused with two planets. So the interplanetary
system is on its way, but there’s a last project, which the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency, which funded the original ARPANET, funded the Internet, funded
the interplanetary architecture, is now funding a project
to design a spacecraft to get to the nearest
star in 100 years’ time. What that means
is that what we’re learning with these interactions with other species will teach us, ultimately, how we might interact
with an alien from another world. I can hardly wait. (Applause) June Cohen: So first of all, thank you, and I would like to acknowledge
that four people who could talk to us for full four days actually managed to stay
to four minutes each, and we thank you for that. I have so many questions, but maybe a few practical things
that the audience might want to know. You’re launching this idea here at TED —
PG: Today. JC: Today. This is the first
time you’re talking about it. Tell me a little bit about where
you’re going to take the idea. What’s next? PG: I think we want
to engage as many people here as possible in helping us think of smart interfaces
that will make all this possible. NG: And just mechanically, there’s a 501(c)(3) and web infrastructure and all of that, but it’s not
quite ready to turn on, so we’ll roll that out, and contact us if you want the information on it. The idea is this will be — much
like the Internet functions as a network of networks, which is Vint’s core contribution, this will be a wrapper
around all of these initiatives, that are wonderful individually,
to link them globally. JC: Right, and do you have a web address that we might look for yet? NG: Shortly. JC: Shortly. We
will come back to you on that. And very quickly, just to clarify. Some people might have looked
at the video that you showed and thought, well, that’s just a webcam. What’s special about it? If you could talk for just a moment about how you want to go past that? NG: So this is scalable
video infrastructure, not for a few to a few but many to many, so that it scales
to symmetrical video sharing and content sharing across these
sites around the planet. So there’s a lot of back-end
signal processing, not for one to many, but for many to many. JC: Right, and then on a practical level, which technologies are you
looking at first? I know you mentioned that a keyboard
is a really key part of this. DR: We’re trying to develop
an interactive touch screen for dolphins. This is sort of a continuation
of some of the earlier work, and we just got our first seed
money today towards that, so it’s our first project. JC: Before the talk, even. DR: Yeah. JC: Wow. Well done. All right, well thank you
all so much for joining us. It’s such a delight
to have you on the stage. DR: Thank you. VC: Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “The interspecies Internet? An idea in progress…

  1. "Rather I have shed myself, and my ego and gone into the void" LOL
    is that why you're still talking, as abraham? lose the nonsense hippie babble. it hurts your credibility, as it's an ironically egotistical logical fallacy.

  2. says "inhalefarts" lol. You like the word logical do you? It sounds nice to you?

    The 60's ended over 40 years ago, move on old man.

  3. "The dolphin has self awareness", thank you for explaining the obvious. It's like saying "The men, that are behind me have, self awareness."

  4. It's not cryptic, it's simple logic. The more kindness you see in the world, the kinder you will be. If everyone treated you like shit and looked out for nothing but themselves, you'd be a completely different person. You can make your own decisions, but your decisions are made based on what other people do. Unless you live in solitude your whole life. We wouldn't even be able to talk on here if it wasn't for the collaboration of our race over thousands of years. You didn't do this by yourself.

  5. why was the original internet called the "internet of middle aged white men?" Because, throughout history, white men have invented almost everything we use, and know.

  6. "They share 97% of our DNA". And then he's behind bars even though he didn't do anything wrong. I'm not against zoos – I live in Calgary and love its zoo – but I can't help feeling bad about their imprisonment.

  7. The idea is exceptional, but I'd say, the HUMAN Race first, that is, humans of all races and nationalities need to get along better especially given the relative easy flow of information via the Internet, Vint Cerf, a BIG Thank You on that.

  8. Humans can communicate and interact with animals, birds and even trees/ plants through telepathy, hear each others' 'voices' in our consciousness. Vedic science and methods have always known and used this. It is a pity that Western Science, that picked up its building blocks from Vedic Science without ever acknowledging its source, is having to now re-learn what has already been known through millenniums purely because of its arrogance and inferiority-superiority complex.

  9. pretty cool one day I'll be able to friend request Flipper, have Mr. ed post things on my wall, and Lassie tell me about all the adventures she's had. lol

  10. Can Ted Talks Director please forward this project's website when it becomes available.
    Its very interesting project to see how it progresses.

  11. " Give a monkey a typewriter and in 100 years eventually he will type a word". The childish idea of " someday talking to outer space aliens" just about sums up this project. On the other hand given the fallacious drivel that dominates Internet content allowing animals access might improve the content somewhat, it's a dismal idea .

  12. Reach another star in 100 years?! W The closest is 4 lightyears away. Maybe he meant DARPA will launch a starship in 100 years. Otherwise either he or DARPA is missing some pretty important information.

  13. There are functioning prototype rocket engines TODAY that could move a spacecraft much faster than our common chemical rockets currently can. Look them up (I know you have the 'net LOL). 4 light years is something do-able in my opinion, especially if rocket engine tech continues to grow.

    Ion drives function and are fast and efficient. That's tech we need to keep expanding.

  14. poking, prodding & prying the future into being? while providing teasing glimpses of what exactly? Ourselves? Not me surely, must be another species then. Illusionists work by misdirection after all, as do confidence tricksters

  15. 100 years, really? It takes me 1 second to accidentally press A and S, last time i checked, "as" is a word.

  16. Is that supposed to be an insult? It's just like saying my hair is brown and laughing about it. You religiotards are rather dumb…

  17. It is generally believed that if Humans will believe they accept other intelligences via free-will, they will show less resistance for a plural society vis-a-vis to an external invader. Ergo, should certain highly regarded individuals show assiduous interest in such an option, the rest of humanity will inexorably follow.

  18. Great idea, intro was promising but quickly plummeted. The network tech is here; the idea will mainly depend on the interfaces with the animals which depends on the current knowledge of their cognitive abilities. Let them play pacman against each other: winner gets food

  19. Oh, I'm sorry, did I offend you? What the fuck is wrong with you? Seriously. What makes you insult people like that for no reason? Are you brain damaged?

  20. Do I have to reveal to you that I made those statements only to annoy you. Regardless you are actually wrong in your first statement because by definition visionaries/dreamers don't literally "build" and since you didn't get the reply that was mostly made as an amusing remark I decided to poke fun at you. You win in making yourself a caricature though.

  21. yep, they're right here. pretending to be sleeping in between the keyboard and the monitor I have -watching this ! lol

  22. this might be true, [ I would agree with that conclusion] are you suggesting there is an intent other than the amazing [and to me simply inspiring and exciting] 'interspecies' communication network is merely a cunning marketing ploy for "introducing " we earthling humans to interplanetary beings at some point? I guess if they're human like minded and as centric in their thought processes its quite possible. I'm more interested in "hearing" from the other earthlings who live here ATM! INSPIRING

  23. because we've never before been as immediately 'connected' especially through communications. I'm already bowled over with how fast and far HUMANS have connected – at global levels- by simply PLAYING on the internet. This is an amazing frontier that we [I believe] are OBLIGATED to explore and try and understand. I would spend the rest of my life "LISTENING" to "THE WORLD" if I could! I DREAM of that ability. Because I LOVE LIFE. and I need to understand I want to understand. Whys that bad?

  24. LOL! CAN YOU IMAGINE???! Or an octop[us? or a cobra? or a geeze I want to hear the world! THE COSMOS! I would just listen forever! [and probably laugh and cry spontaneously]

  25. "pretending to be sleeping" … whenever possible, on top of my hands, attempting to prevent all that annoying typing.

  26. if we are going to use the internet to connect to other species, it will change everything, not just the way we communicate. we will have absolutly no excuse to cull or even eat meat when we have the very animals we hurt talk back in a language we understand. this is great news for conservationists as now we will be literally giving a voice to the voiceless. its both terrifying and exciting at the same time.

  27. every time i click on a ted video it takes about 2 minutes before i bust my hole laughin -women a children being killed daily and these fucks are watchin spinnin dolphins for 30 years!oh man,im still laughin and this bitch is still goin on about givin keyboards to dolphins!omg this is crackin me up -super rich elite fucks are laughing at all of u who watch ted's "most amazing" videos!

  28. So, you're sitting here watching stuff on the internet when you could be saving people?
    You sure are one heartless jerk, aren't you.

  29. here's a question u and ted viewers probably get alot "are u retarded?"i'll tell u whats heartless,that u fucks treat animals better than people -everyone on ted pretends theyve fixed the world,everything's fine so now we go spend our time and money on pointless animal studies but if any of u ted watchers actually think you're intelligent,go find out about the speakers on it,go find out what a joke ted is -all ted watchers are guilty,u ignore the human suffering these people cause so u can go ba

  30. is it really interesting?will it keep u awake at night?who are u?someone trying to get these videos views?either u really dont understand what im saying or u have another motive

  31. That you equate something being "interesting" with necessarily "keeping me up at night" is kind of silly.
    I find many things to be somewhat interesting but very few of them keep me up at night.
    By "interesting" I mean that I find your hypocrisy to be mildly amusing when I encounter it.
    Your discovery that I possibly have "another motive" other than passing a few minutes here and there is also somewhat amusing to me.
    It seems that you consider yourself to be rather important in your own mind.

  32. OH IM SUPER IMPORTANT,BITCH -THIS IS THE LAST VIEW IM GIVIN THIS VID SO U WANNA KEEP BLOWING YOUR HOLE THEN MESSAGE ME PERSONALLY -U HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE(just seen caps) that i am a hypocrite,what makes u think i dont help many people every day?and ted helps no-one,u got it all backwards but u already know this u want anymore comms from me,u can do it without an audience,i wont b back here

  33. What do I have "backwards?" I never claimed that TED helps anyone.
    You just enjoy hearing yourself talk.
    And it's good that you won't be back. You've already come here at least 5 times. That's enough to prove my point.
    Good bye.

  34. I've proved a number of things about you.
    For one thing, by your own admission, I've "dragged [you] back here 5 times" already.
    That proves that, even though you think I'm a "coward" you're interested enough in what I say that you follow the YouTube email alerts telling you I've said something.
    How does it feel to be subservient enough to be "dragged" by a cowardly "cunt?"
    And you judge people by their YouTube profile? haha! That shows something about you, too!

  35. you're an idiot,a total pointless arguement,your just a sock puppet -your reply or an reply will come to me in a form of an email -lol dont flatter yourself that i actually picked u out for alerts,and by checking your channel i could see your other comments -you're nothing,a fake,a sock puppet -final msg for ya =dumb,dumb,dumb,dumb,dumb,dumb,dumb,dumb,dumbdy,dum,dum,dumb!

  36. I'm the "idiot?" hahaha!
    You're the one who thinks I claimed you "picked [me] out for alerts."
    Everyone who has a YouTube account knows how it works. It sends you emails whenever someone responds to one of your posts. Of course there's no need for "picking someone out for alerts."
    What I was referring to is the fact that you pay attention to emails triggered by my posts.
    If I'm a "sock puppet," you're the one who thinks a sock puppet is important enough to respond to!!

  37. A question… do the creators of the internet have the right to like shut of the internet? after all its their invention …. (and obviously i know someone could easily build a new one nowadays, bla)

  38. No. It's an open network built on open standards. Any one can use it's protocols. It's the basis of it and why it works. BitCoin is similar. Non centralised organisations are a wonderful balancing force in our society.

  39. You should have any kind of sex you want as long as it's not rape! I don't think there should be a device that you have to have sex with to get on line but THEY will make one some day! All I wanted was all the animals to be networked together so THEY could all jam out in their own way together online for all the world to see and hear! With out rape or a dolphin dick in a blow hole! Is that to much to ask?

  40. 1) Do you have trouble spelling CIA?
    2) Whether or not certain particular pages are in an 'editing war', and whether or not universities accept it as a source does not affect how reliable it is as a source in general.
    3) Universities don't accept it (a) because the goal of the project is probably to make the students do more labor-intensive research, and (b) because they want you to give the source where the information originally came from, so a particular source can be evaluated for accuracy.

  41. 4) History *is*, in fact, written by victors, distorted, etc. This has nothing to do with Wikipedia whatsoever.
    5) The purpose of the CIA is not to distort history. At all. They don't do that (any more than anyone else).

  42.  A new and developing idea from a panel of four great thinkers — dolphin researcher Diana Reiss, musician Peter Gabriel, internet of things visionary Neil Gershenfeld and Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet.

  43. That will be intersting.. DOlphins, Orcas and Balugas will be able to interface on the internet, there will be dsignated internet depots near the coasts and everything.. Can you imagine some of the things they could tell us about what goes on down there if they get fluent enough to describe everything? I think cryptozoologists might want to take heed: The Dolphins have probably saw things.. Remarkable things.. Things passed down throughout millennea yet!

    Though I also will be waiting too for the big dissillusionment, because at some point, they will realize how fucked we are, too, and how we're probably bound to destroy ourselves before we even hit outer space (that, btw, is ANOTHER Dolphin environment that has to be looked at, Dlphin interractions with men in zero gravity, I can only imagine what that would be like).

  44. I came to this video intentionally. Wanted to see people at least thinking about communicating to other species here on earth in a science environment. What a nice talk. Thanks TED.

  45. Where is the link and more info on this and ongoing projects? Please update the info section so we can follow up on/with this project. It's so interesting.

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