Karen Bakker gives TED talk on nature’s hidden sounds


Did you know that there are everyday animal conversations happening all around us, but outside the human hearing range?

This is the subject of UBC Geography professor Karen Bakker’s TED talk, delivered at this year’s TED conference in downtown Vancouver.

Dr. Bakker explores the many vibrant sounds of nature — from elephant celebrations to orca conversations — that are now being translated for us thanks to advances in artificial intelligence. This technology may even be utilized in conservation efforts, such as one pilot project which aims to reduce boat collisions with endangered right whales off the east coast of North America.

This newfound ability as a species raises deep questions about the future of our relationship with the nonhuman world, including how the technology may be (mis)used in the future, and whether we will ever be able to talk back.

Learn more by watching Dr. Bakker’s talk on TED.com. A full transcript is available.