How Peter Gabriel's Animal Internet Prepares Us For Aliens

By Sean Kane , Mar 02, 2013 08:49 AM EST

Peter Gabriels wants animals on the internet. And not just in LOLCats form.

The singer is looking to develop an Internet for animals. Gabriel announced his plans to an audience at the TED Conference on Friday. Joining him in his endeavor to get animals online are Vint Cerf, a computer scientists known as a “father of the internet,” a cognitive psychologist and an MIT professor.

At the TED talk, Gabriel showed a video of him playing music with a bonobo. The ape played the keyboard with one finger while Gabriel sang, reports AFP. “She did good,” he said.

Gabriel first became interested in caring about what animals thought while growing up on a farm in England. “What was amazing to me was that they seemed a lot more adept at getting a handle on our language than we were at getting a handle on theirs.”

His interest in animal cognition brought him to Diana Reiss, a dolphin intelligence researcher and psychologist.

“Animals are conscious. They have emotions. They are aware. One of my biggest dreams is that we give them the respect and attention they deserve," Reiss said.

After seeing Gabriel’s bonobo jam session, Neil Gershenfeld, a professor at MIT, joined Reiss and Gabriel’s quest to bring animals to the internet.

“What is important about what these people are doing is they are beginning to learn how to communicate with species who are not us but share a sensory environment,” Cerf said. “These other sentient species should be part of the network too.” Cerf, who now works at Google, posited the animal internet as a way for humans to learn how to communicate with other beings, a skill that would come in handy if we ever were to meet extraterrestrial life. “These interactions with other animals will teach us, ultimately, how we might interact with an alien from another world. I can hardly wait.”

The group is currently raising money to develop a touchscreen interface for dolphins to use to connect to the internet (dolphins should fit in just fine writing nasty internet comments).

Peter Gabriel’s animal internet is nearing completion.

“We are almost ready to turn it on.”

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