image: detail from "Discomedusae" - Plate 28 in "Kunstformen der Natur." Ernst Haeckel - 1904
Noyce Conference Room

All day


Our campus is closed to the public for this event.

Communication is ubiquitous in humans and other animals. However, how we perceive other animals is often linked to what we know about the type and complexity of information contained in their communication systems. Scientists are using advanced technologies to study animal communication and behavior, and although there have been important advances in the field of animal communication research, we simply have not yet found a rigorous means or demonstration of the ability to translate their systems of communication. Using AI machine learning and other mathematical approaches, coupled with ground truthing by scientists studying specific species, we are closer than ever to demonstrating the ability to decode functional communication in other species. There may be a multitude of ways to decipher the codes of other species and to demonstrate successful translations. So what might success look like?

Interspecies Internet (io) & The Santa Fe Institute aim to advance this challenge and guide the global community towards such a breakthrough. The focus of the Workshop is to imagine, discuss and co-create robust yet flexible criteria that would constitute evidence for the successful decoding of communication systems of another species. Towards this goal, the meeting will bring together experts from the fields of animal communication, cognition, behavior, AI, philosophy, linguistics, and mathematics, including members of the SFI community and other thinkers. Developing such criteria will inspire and encourage the pursuit of the demonstration of such translations and we hope that this achievement will create a sea change in how animals are perceived and treated.

The proceedings of the workshop and outcomes will be documented and published digitally as an unprecedented advance for the field. In addition, we invite representatives of the XPrize Biodiversity + Conservation domain to further co-develop a prize concept for animal translation based on the criteria developed. Our outcomes for this workshop will contribute to the wider field of exobiology.

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