Diana Reiss : You may think you 're looking through a window at a dolphin spinning playfully , but what you 're actually looking through is a two-way mirror at a dolphin looking at itself spinning playfully .
This is a dolphin that is self-aware .
This dolphin has self-awareness .
It 's a young dolphin named Bayley .
I 've been very interested in understanding the nature of the intelligence of dolphins for the past 30 years .
How do we explore intelligence in this animal that 's so different from us ?
And what I 've used is a very simple research tool , a mirror , and we 've gained great information , reflections of these animal minds .
Dolphins are n't the only animals , the only non-human animals , to show mirror self-recognition .
We used to think this was a uniquely human ability , but we learned that the great apes , our closest relatives , also show this ability .
Then we showed it in dolphins , and then later in elephants .
We did this work in my lab with the dolphins and elephants , and it 's been recently shown in the magpie .
Now , it 's interesting , because we 've embraced this Darwinian view of a continuity in physical evolution , this physical continuity .
But we 've been much more reticent , much slower at recognizing this continuity in cognition , in emotion , in consciousness in other animals .
Other animals are conscious .
They 're emotional . They 're aware .
There have been multitudes of studies with many species over the years that have given us exquisite evidence for thinking and consciousness in other animals , other animals that are quite different than we are in form .
We are not alone .
We are not alone in these abilities .
And I hope , and one of my biggest dreams , is that , with our growing awareness about the consciousness of others and our relationship with the rest of the animal world , that we 'll give them the respect and protection that they deserve .
So that 's a wish I 'm throwing out here for everybody , and I hope I can really engage you in this idea .
Now , I want to return to dolphins , because these are the animals that I feel like I 've been working up closely and personal with for over 30 years .
And these are real personalities .
They are not persons , but they 're personalities in every sense of the word .
And you ca n't get more alien than the dolphin .
They are very different from us in body form .
They 're radically different . They come from a radically different environment .
In fact , we 're separated by 95 million years of divergent evolution .
Look at this body .
And in every sense of making a pun here , these are true non-terrestrials .
I wondered how we might interface with these animals .
In the 1980s , I developed an underwater keyboard .
This was a custom-made touch-screen keyboard .
What I wanted to do was give the dolphins choice and control .
These are big brains , highly social animals , and I thought , well , if we give them choice and control , if they can hit a symbol on this keyboard -- and by the way , it was interfaced by fiber optic cables from Hewlett-Packard with an Apple II computer .
This seems prehistoric now , but this was where we were with technology .
So the dolphins could hit a key , a symbol , they heard a computer-generated whistle , and they got an object or activity .
Now here 's a little video .
This is Delphi and Pan , and you 're going to see Delphi hitting a key , he hears a computer-generated whistle -- ( Whistle ) -- and gets a ball , so they can actually ask for things they want .
What was remarkable is , they explored this keyboard on their own . There was no intervention on our part .
They explored the keyboard . They played around with it .
They figured out how it worked .
And they started to quickly imitate the sounds they were hearing on the keyboard .
They imitated on their own .
Beyond that , though , they started learning associations between the symbols , the sounds and the objects .
What we saw was self-organized learning , and now I 'm imagining , what can we do with new technologies ?
How can we create interfaces , new windows into the minds of animals , with the technologies that exist today ?
So I was thinking about this , and then , one day , I got a call from Peter .
Peter Gabriel : I make noises for a living .
On a good day , it 's music , and I want to talk a little bit about the most amazing music-making experience I ever had .
I 'm a farm boy . I grew up surrounded by animals , and I would look in these eyes and wonder what was going on there ?
So as an adult , when I started to read about the amazing breakthroughs with Penny Patterson and Koko , with Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and Kanzi , Panbanisha , Irene Pepperberg , Alex the parrot , I got all excited .
What was amazing to me also was they seemed a lot more adept at getting a handle on our language than we were on getting a handle on theirs .
I work with a lot of musicians from around the world , and often we do n't have any common language at all , but we sit down behind our instruments , and suddenly there 's a way for us to connect and emote .
So I started cold-calling , and eventually got through to Sue Savage-Rumbaugh , and she invited me down .
I went down , and the bonobos had had access to percussion instruments , musical toys , but never before to a keyboard .
At first they did what infants do , just bashed it with their fists , and then I asked , through Sue , if Panbanisha could try with one finger only .
Sue Savage-Rumbaugh : Can you play a grooming song ?
I want to hear a grooming song .
Play a real quiet grooming song .
PG : So groom was the subject of the piece .
( Music ) So I 'm just behind , jamming , yeah , this is what we started with .
Sue 's encouraging her to continue a little more .
( Music )
She discovers a note she likes , finds the octave .
She 'd never sat at a keyboard before .
Nice triplets .
SSR : You did good . That was very good .
PG : She hit good .
( Applause )
So that night , we began to dream , and we thought , perhaps the most amazing tool that man 's created is the Internet , and what would happen if we could somehow find new interfaces , visual-audio interfaces that would allow these remarkable sentient beings that we share the planet with access ?
And Sue Savage-Rumbaugh got excited about that , called her friend Steve Woodruff , and we began hustling all sorts of people whose work related or was inspiring , which led us to Diana , and led us to Neil .
Neil Gershenfeld : Thanks , Peter . PG : Thank you .
( Applause )
NG : So Peter approached me .
I lost it when I saw that clip .
He approached me with a vision of doing these things not for people , for animals .
And then I was struck in the history of the Internet .
This is what the Internet looked like when it was born and you can call that the Internet of middle-aged white men , mostly middle-aged white men .
Vint Cerf : ( Laughs )
( Laughter )
NG : Speaking as one .
Then , when I first came to TED , which was where I met Peter , I showed this .
This is a $ 1 web server , and at the time that was radical .
And the possibility of making a web server for a dollar grew into what became known as the Internet of Things , which is literally an industry now with tremendous implications for health care , energy efficiency .
And we were happy with ourselves .
And then when Peter showed me that , I realized we had missed something , which is the rest of the planet .
So we started up this interspecies Internet project .
Now we started talking with TED about how you bring dolphins and great apes and elephants to TED , and we realized that would n't work .
So we 're going to bring you to them .
So if we could switch to the audio from this computer , we 've been video conferencing with cognitive animals , and we 're going to have each of them just briefly introduce them .
And so if we could also have this up , great .
So the first site we 're going to meet is Cameron Park Zoo in Waco , with orangutans .
In the daytime they live outside . It 's nighttime there now .
So can you please go ahead ?
Terri Cox : Hi , I 'm Terri Cox with the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco , Texas , and with me I have KeraJaan and Mei , two of our Bornean orangutans .
During the day , they have a beautiful , large outdoor habitat , and at night , they come into this habitat , into their night quarters , where they can have a climate-controlled and secure environment to sleep in .
We participate in the Apps for Apes program Orangutan Outreach , and we use iPads to help stimulate and enrich the animals , and also help raise awareness for these critically endangered animals .
And they share 97 percent of our DNA and are incredibly intelligent , so it 's so exciting to think of all the opportunities that we have via technology and the Internet to really enrich their lives and open up their world .
We 're really excited about the possibility of an interspecies Internet , and K.J . has been enjoying the conference very much .
NG : That 's great . When we were rehearsing last night , he had fun watching the elephants .
Next user group are the dolphins at the National Aquarium .
Please go ahead .
Allison Ginsburg : Good evening .
Well , my name is Allison Ginsburg , and we 're live in Baltimore at the National Aquarium .
Joining me are three of our eight Atlantic bottlenose dolphins : 20-year-old Chesapeake , who was our first dolphin born here , her four-year-old daughter Bayley , and her half sister , 11-year-old Maya .
Now , here at the National Aquarium we are committed to excellence in animal care , to research , and to conservation .
The dolphins are pretty intrigued as to what 's going on here tonight .
They 're not really used to having cameras here at 8 o'clock at night .
In addition , we are very committed to doing different types of research .
As Diana mentioned , our animals are involved in many different research studies .
NG : Those are for you .
Okay , that 's great , thank you .
And the third user group , in Thailand , is Think Elephants . Go ahead , Josh .
Josh Plotnik : Hi , my name is Josh Plotnik , and I 'm with Think Elephants International , and we 're here in the Golden Triangle of Thailand with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation elephants .
And we have 26 elephants here , and our research is focused on the evolution of intelligence with elephants , but our foundation Think Elephants is focused on bringing elephants into classrooms around the world virtually like this and showing people how incredible these animals are .
So we 're able to bring the camera right up to the elephant , put food into the elephant 's mouth , show people what 's going on inside their mouths , and show everyone around the world how incredible these animals really are .
NG : Okay , that 's great . Thanks Josh .
And once again , we 've been building great relationships among them just since we 've been rehearsing .
So at that point , if we can go back to the other computer , we were starting to think about how you integrate the rest of the biomass of the planet into the Internet , and we went to the best possible person I can think of , which is Vint Cerf , who is one of the founders who gave us the Internet . Vint ?
VC : Thank you , Neil .
( Applause )
A long time ago in a galaxy — oops , wrong script .
Forty years ago , Bob Kahn and I did the design of the Internet .
Thirty years ago , we turned it on .
Just last year , we turned on the production Internet .
You 've been using the experimental version for the last 30 years .
The production version , it uses IP version 6 .
It has 3.4 times 10 to the 38th possible terminations .
That 's a number only that Congress can appreciate .
But it leads to what is coming next .
When Bob and I did this design , we thought we were building a system to connect computers together .
What we very quickly discovered is that this was a system for connecting people together .
And what you 've seen tonight tells you that we should not restrict this network to one species , that these other intelligent , sentient species should be part of the system too .
This is the system as it looks today , by the way .
This is what the Internet looks like to a computer that 's trying to figure out where the traffic is supposed to go .
This is generated by a program that 's looking at the connectivity of the Internet , and how all the various networks are connected together .
There are about 400,000 networks , interconnected , run independently by 400,000 different operating agencies , and the only reason this works is that they all use the same standard TCP/IP protocols .
Well , you know where this is headed .
The Internet of Things tell us that a lot of computer-enabled appliances and devices are going to become part of this system too : appliances that you use around the house , that you use in your office , that you carry around with yourself or in the car .
That 's the Internet of Things that 's coming .
Now , what 's important about what these people are doing is that they 're beginning to learn how to communicate with species that are not us but share a common sensory environment .
We 're beginning to explore what it means to communicate with something that is n't just another person .
Well , you can see what 's coming next .
All kinds of possible sentient beings may be interconnected through this system , and I ca n't wait to see these experiments unfold .
What happens after that ?
Well , let 's see .
There are machines that need to talk to machines and that we need to talk to , and so as time goes on , we 're going to have to learn how to communicate with computers and how to get computers to communicate with us in the way that we 're accustomed to , not with keyboards , not with mice , but with speech and gestures and all the natural human language that we 're accustomed to .
So we 'll need something like C3PO to become a translator between ourselves and some of the other machines we live with .
Now , there is a project that 's underway called the interplanetary Internet .
It 's in operation between Earth and Mars .
It 's operating on the International Space Station .
It 's part of the spacecraft that 's in orbit around the Sun that 's rendezvoused with two planets .
So the interplanetary system is on its way , but there 's a last project , which the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency , which funded the original ARPANET , funded the Internet , funded the interplanetary architecture , is now funding a project to design a spacecraft to get to the nearest star in 100 years ' time .
What that means is that what we 're learning with these interactions with other species will teach us , ultimately , how we might interact with an alien from another world .
I can hardly wait .
( Applause )
June Cohen : So first of all , thank you , and I would like to acknowledge that four people who could talk to us for full four days actually managed to stay to four minutes each , and we thank you for that .
I have so many questions , but maybe a few practical things that the audience might want to know .
You 're launching this idea here at TED — PG : Today .
JC : Today . This is the first time you 're talking about it .
Tell me a little bit about where you 're going to take the idea .
What 's next ?
PG : I think we want to engage as many people here as possible in helping us think of smart interfaces that will make all this possible .
NG : And just mechanically , there 's a 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) and web infrastructure and all of that , but it 's not quite ready to turn on , so we 'll roll that out , and contact us if you want the information on it .
The idea is this will be -- much like the Internet functions as a network of networks , which is Vint 's core contribution , this will be a wrapper around all of these initiatives , that are wonderful individually , to link them globally .
JC : Right , and do you have a web address that we might look for yet ?
NG : Shortly . JC : Shortly . We will come back to you on that .
And very quickly , just to clarify .
Some people might have looked at the video that you showed and thought , well , that 's just a webcam .
What 's special about it ?
If you could talk for just a moment about how you want to go past that ?
NG : So this is scalable video infrastructure , not for a few to a few but many to many , so that it scales to symmetrical video sharing and content sharing across these sites around the planet .
So there 's a lot of back-end signal processing , not for one to many , but for many to many .
JC : Right , and then on a practical level , which technologies are you looking at first ?
I know you mentioned that a keyboard is a really key part of this .
DR : We 're trying to develop an interactive touch screen for dolphins .
This is sort of a continuation of some of the earlier work , and we just got our first seed money today towards that , so it 's our first project .
JC : Before the talk , even . DR : Yeah .
JC : Wow . Well done .
All right , well thank you all so much for joining us .
It 's such a delight to have you on the stage .
DR : Thank you . VC : Thank you .
( Applause )