An Internet for Animals

An internet for animals? MIT researcher says it's possible.

July 17th, 2013

Peter Gabriel’s song “Shock the Monkey” reached the top of the Billboard charts in the 1980s.

Today, he’s teaming up with MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld to connect the monkey to the internet.

It’s an ideal match: Gabriel has worked with animals and music, and is on the advisory council for the MIT Media Lab. Gershenfeld directs the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms, and spends a lot of time thinking about the future of the internet and personal fabrication.

The duo — along with Diana Reiss, a cognitive psychologist who has trained dolphins to use keyboards to communicate with humans, and Vint Cerf, chief internet evangelist at Google — hope their interspecies internet will facilitate communication between species.

And after that? Cerf envisions an intergalactic internet. Says Cerf in a recent TED interview, “These interactions with other animals will teach us, ultimately, how we might interact with an alien from another world. I can hardly wait.”

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