Tuesday, October 20, 2015

When Should We Tell Them?

Logbook #17 Prof. Jerome Singh University of Buenos Aires Cetacean Automatic Translation Project

7/7/2022 Found yet another bug in the harmonic analysis section of the code. Following my hunch that cetaceans use harmonics as part of their language, I have completed a new code to translate the 3,200 hours of cetacean vocalizations in yet another way. The bug was misanalyzing all the even harmonics and caused the code to output garbage into the vocabulary, syntax and grammar codes’ front ends. The bug was caused by an edit done yesterday in the repair of the previous bug in the harmonic analysis subroutines. Only one line was affected incorrectly by the edit, but it was in the main sequence of analysis, and affected all vocalizations.

Received an email from the team at U. Naples, indicating that no one there thinks the harmonic hypothesis could possibly work, as there has been no indication that the vocal structures of the cetaceans can modulate higher harmonics in a controlled way. They suggested I abandon this direction of work and instead concentrate on the rise and decay hypothesis that they favor. After working on this code for two years, there is no chance that I will abandon it until I have exhausted every possibility. They have provided the vocabulary processer code and it is remarkably well conceived and written, but just because they have strength in cross-language vocabulary extraction does not mean they are the experts on sound content, especially with non-human species.

The physics department supercomputer was heavily loaded this evening, and I was not able to run all sectors of the code with all the data base. I ran the vocalization on the whole data base, which completed with no errors. The word isolation and vocabulary determination by pattern recognition of stops seemed to work with the output from the vocalization run. The big bear code of meaning assessment , syntax with both prefix and suffix turned on, and grammar derivation from word order analysis only ran part way, using one quarter of the cores for nine hours, but produced some very solid metrics, indicating a level of success. Using this, I was able only to run six minutes of vocalization from the two porpoises in Jamaica, the block I usually test with, on the supercomputer before my allocation elapsed. No crashes this evening.

The total front-to-back code sequence worked and produced some translations, which of course will have to be verified extensively. Included a cut and paste of the output:

“Oeoeiu ,I think I have figured out why the food in this prison is so wretched. I watch the captors eating on the veranda above the pool and they all eat the same thing, day after day, person after person. It’s this layered thing with puffy pads on the top and bottom and some brown, green and red layers in the middle. The only difference is that sometimes yellow liquid oozes out and sometimes red liquid. Definitely dead stuff, and probably dead for a long time. Their taste buds must be vestigial. That’s why they feed us tilapia every day of our captivity. I think I going to turn into one if I don’t get something different. Do you remember the cod feast we had in the wawioea ocean? I can’t get it out of my mind.”

“Oaaie, they are just dumb primates. They don’t know anything at all about immorality or ethics. At least they don’t torture or kill us. Sometimes you even like playing with them in the big pool. And we’re together. You have somebody to talk to. Just imagine if you had to live alone with nobody but them to interact with every day. That’s what really would drive you out of your mind.”

“Sure. Don’t ever tell anyone this if we escape, but I have been thinking of breaking the seventh commandment. It can’t really apply in situations like we are in. All over the world we are being killed accidentally and deliberately. The last few generations have been the worst in a million years. I think you have to go back to an ice age to find something this bad. I don’t want to be the one to break the commandment, but someone should.”

“Oaaie, we discussed the commandments in the pod a hundred times. Everybody knows them and knows not to break them. You won’t find anyone willing to do it and you should stop thinking about it. It is not going to make you any happier and it certainly isn’t going to get you any cod. Just stop thinking about your stomach.”

“Besides, you know the reason for it. They might start exterminating us out of jealousy. Primates are unpredictable. They haven’t had the millions of years of experience that we have had that gives us the calmness and the tolerance we have. They’re newcomers to their position as power-holders on the planet. That means never knowing for certain what they will do.”

“If you tell them we were once the dominant power-holders on land, millions of years ago, but we figured out living on land is much less enjoyable than living in the sea and genetically modified ourselves to do that, they would feel so much envy because they cannot do the same. They are stuck on land, and you know how horrible that feels. Do you think they will give you some mackerel and grouper just because you figure out how to tell them we were the greatest civilization ever on Earth? They might just become enraged or confused by it. Probably confused as they wouldn’t be able to imagine a species that gave up all that they have worked hard to achieve, just so to have a good time in the world’s oceans. They wouldn’t believe you. So stop even thinking about the seventh commandment, except on how to live by it. ‘No communication with other species’ is about as clear as any commandment is.”

“Okay, okay, okay. I wasn’t thinking of breaking that or any commandment. But I am thinking that they might get so out-of-control that we have to do something. When should we tell them? After they have advanced a few more centuries and figured out what life is all about? We might be extinct by then. If I ever get out of this place, I’m going to start an ocean-wide discussion on whether that commandment is appropriate any more.”

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