In a recent study led by Professor Adrian David Cheok at the University of Tokyo, researchers have successfully deciphered the emotional states of chickens through their vocalizations. This unique endeavor seeks to bridge the interspecies communication gap.
The research, which is still awaiting peer review, has reported a groundbreaking achievement. The team determined the six emotional states of chickens – hunger, fear, anger, contentment, excitement, and distress – with 80% accuracy solely based on vocalizations.
The preliminary findings have been documented in a paper submitted to Nature Scientific Reports and initially published in Research Square.
Cheok, otherwise recognized for his sex robot research, humorously commented on this novel venture: “It’s a cluckin’ great leap for science! And this is just the beginning.”
“We hope to be able to adapt these AI and ML techniques to other animals and lay the groundwork for incredible intelligence in the various animal-related industries. If we know what animals are feeling we can design a much better world for them.”
“Our methodology employs a cutting-edge AI technique we call Deep Emotional Analysis Learning (DEAL), a highly mathematical and innovative approach that allows for the nuanced understanding of emotional states through auditory data,” explained Cheok.
The innovative AI technique holds the promise of designing a more humane environment for animals by better comprehending their feelings.
“We conducted our study with a sample of 80 chickens, meticulously recording and analyzing their vocalizations under various conditions,” wrote the study authors.
“To ensure the accuracy of our system’s interpretations, we collaborated with a team of eight animal psychologists and veterinary surgeons, who provided expert insights into the emotional states of the chickens.”
The researchers meticulously analyzed approximately 200 hours of chicken sounds. The AI system was trained on half of these recordings, where each sound was labeled with a corresponding emotional state.
When tested on the remaining 100 hours of chicken vocalizations, the system impressively pinpointed the chickens’ emotional states most of the time.
“This research not only opens up new avenues for understanding and improving animal welfare but also sets a precedent for further studies in AI-driven interspecies communication,” said the study authors.
They noted that chickens are “highly social animals” and plan to create a free app so that farmers can use the technology to communicate with their chickens.
According to the researchers, this study not only enhances our understanding of animal welfare but also sets the foundation for further exploration in AI-facilitated interspecies communication.
Farming Online recognizes the immense potential of this research, saying that it could redefine animal welfare, advance veterinary medicine, improve poultry farming conditions, and assist animal behavior research, among other applications.
“The novelty of our approach lies in its application of sophisticated AI techniques to a largely unexplored area of study,” concluded the researchers.
“By bridging the gap between human and animal communication, we believe our research will pave the way for more empathetic and effective interactions with the animal kingdom.”
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