Peter Gabriel has long been a musical pioneer, creating new forms and bringing outlandish ideas to the public. One of his little-known projects is called Interspecies internet. Peter Gabriel worked closely with Internet pioneer Vint Cerf (who worked on the TCP/IP protocol that underpins the internet as we know it), computer scientist Neil Gershenfeld and cognitive psychologist Diana Reiss to combine their experience to create an internet suitable for use by other species.
Based on the idea that humans aren’t the only intelligent species on the planet and that animals have cognitive abilities and are self-aware, the interspecies internet is designed to provide websites for other species to use, in much the same we use them. Gershenfeld explains “if you think these animals are self-aware, interspecies internet covers the same range we use the internet for.”
Gershenfeld’s goal is to get animals to use the internet more, developing animal cognition, providing enrichment for animals in captivity and to help communication between different kinds of animals. Diana Reiss has trained Dolphins to play music on underwater keyboards and Peter Gabriel has recorded music with a Bonobo as a keyboard player.
After his experience of working with Bonobos, Gabriel has become inspired by the possibilities of animals and technology. Bonobos are capable of understanding language and have shown they can interact in a musical setting with humans. With this undoubted intelligence, the applications for an interspecies internet are wide-ranging. Imagine dolphins communicating with apes, and with the potential to do it regardless of human input. The potential for communication between species is incredible.
The Interspecies internet is just the beginning, however, as now Cerf is working with NASA on packet transfer protocols for using in space. The Interspecies internet could be expanded to the Intergalactic Internet where we could potentially have communication with alien races. With interplanetary and even intergalactic communication, the possibilities are endless.