Rocker Peter Gabriel is spearheading a new campaign for an interspecies Internet that will allow humans and animals to communicate.
The Shock the Monkey singer teamed up with world wide web pioneer Vint Cerf to launch his latest hi-tech project earlier this month, insisting the Internet can be used to help mankind better understand the creature we share the planet with.
Gabriel says, "Perhaps the most amazing tool man has created is the Internet. What would happen if we could somehow find new interfaces - visual, audio - to allow us to communicate with the remarkable beings we share the planet with?"
The rock star and Cerf have great minds behind them in the initiative, including a cognitive psychologist and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Launching the idea, Gabriel premiered a video of himself performing with a bonobo ape, who used a finger to improvise a tune.
The singer admits he has always harbored a Dr. Doolittle dream of communicating with animals ever since he looked into the eyes of cattle and sheep and wondered what they were thinking while growing up on a farm in England.
He says, "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. I work with a lot of musicians from around the world... Often we don't have any common language at all. We sit behind our instruments and it's a way to connect.
Computer scientist Cerf, who is recognized as one of the forefathers of the Internet, believes Gabriel's passion will help fast-track the initiative, which could eventually link humans to aliens.
He adds, "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. These other sentient species should be part of the network too.
"These interactions with other animals will teach us, ultimately, how we might interact with an alien from another world."