Length: 52 min
Category: nature, wildlife, science, computer and technology
Language: English
Status: international versions released (English, German, French)

The variety of sounds made by animals is complex. Biologists are still at the beginning to understand their meaning.

Computer linguists and Automated Pattern Recognition researchers, on the other side, have developed sophisticated analysis tools during the last years. These can be adapted to whatever human language.

But also to animal languages, such as whales, elephants, or gray parrots? Do whales use a real “language”? To find answers, an international team sets out to adapt AI tools to killer whales.

To collect sufficient data for their analysis the team embarks on an expedition along the pristine coastlines of Northern Canada. With specialized software on board they follow different groups of the Northern Resident killer whales.

The challenge is to isolate whale calls that reappear often in similar contexts. These might provide hints towards a possible meaning.

Finally the neural networks begin to identify first call patterns amidst the ocean noise. Yet to understand in detail why a call is made, and who answers what, still require more training and data.

While following different orca families along the coast of Canada, the film provides a first window into a new and exciting era of animal communication research, while drawing us closer to an old dream of mankind – decoding of their language

German Version

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