Imagine using the technologies we are currently developing to help us with voice recognition and real-time translation to be able to understand what animals are saying, and even talking to them in their own languages? This is a very real possibility by the 2040s. What a world that would be.

This week’s Throw Forward Thursday might sound fantastical, but it’s really an invitation for you to imagine what the world will be like when language is no barrier to communication.



Come with me to the future where this and that is completely understandable. Yes, a future where we can understand and maybe even talk to our animals.

My name is Graeme Codrington, this is Throw Forward Thursday, and I think that by the so we may be able to understand and communicate with animals in a much more structured way.

But this video isn’t really about talking to animals. It’s about voice recognition and the use of artificial intelligence to engage with human language. And we’ve got to be careful of throwing the AI label onto anything and everything. Some people see an Excel Pivot table and think it’s artificial intelligence. But artificial intelligence is really when you take a massive set of data and you programme and instruct a computer or an algorithm, really, on how to engage with that data and allow the algorithm to learn something from the data set itself. There are more technical definitions of AI, but when it comes to language, it’s really exciting, where we find ourselves at the moment.

Real-time translation of languages from one to the other are coming very, very soon, and artificial intelligence is in fact, helping us to analyse a language much faster and in much more powerful ways than before. Real-time translation requires not just translating word for word but actually translating meaning and idioms and humour, and that’s not actually that easy. But it’s coming and it’s coming soon and it’s coming quickly and it’s going to be great. If we can do that with human language, we should also be able to do it with other animals that communicate, use the same principles to take a massive data set and analyse what the meaning of the sounds in that data set are.

What we would need is millions and millions of videos of animals doing what they do, communicating, making their noises, and then understanding the context and the behaviours that flow into and from that communication. Luckily, we have a world now where lots and lots of people take videos of animals, and I think we’d be very interested in participating in providing the context and the behavioural information that would flow from those videos that they post, and with that data set, we’d be able to apply artificial intelligence language algorithms to discover what is it that the birds are saying to each other? What is it that your cat or your dog says when they communicate with you? You’ve got some idea. Those of us who have pets can kind of know what they’re trying to communicate to us, but imagine that we could fully understand their language and maybe even communicate back to them. Wow, what a world that would be to live in. I think it’s possible, I think it’s possible quite soon.

What you need to be thinking about in your business and your life is what does the ability to communicate across languages and even yes, across species, maybe, what does that do for you? What would that change in what you do and how you do it and who you do it for and where you do it? What a world that we live in.

So, thank you, as always, for joining me as we jump into the future, find out what’s going on there and realise that it has implications for us today.

Thank you for joining me and I’ll see you again next week.


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Graeme Codrington, is an internationally recognized futurist, specializing in the future of work. He helps organizations understand the forces that will shape our lives in the next ten years, and how we can respond in order to confidently stay ahead of change. Chat to us about booking Graeme to help you Re-Imagine and upgrade your thinking to identify the emerging opportunities in your industry.

For the past two decades, Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.


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