Can you speak chicken? AI can translate for you

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What’s the word, bird?

Scientists from Japan say they can understand what different chicken sounds mean — thanks to AI.

Researchers claim by using technology to analyze chicken’s vocalizations, they can decipher six distinct emotional states including hunger, fear, anger, contentment excitement and distress with 80% accuracy.

The study was spearheaded by University of Tokyo professor Adrian David Cheok, who is better known for his sex robot research.

A proof-of-concept study, published in Research Square, details the team’s findings. It has yet to be reviewed but the paper has been submitted to Nature Scientific Reports.

“It’s a cluckin’ great leap for science!” said Cheok. “And this is just the beginning. We hope to be able to adapt these AI and ML techniques to other animals and lay the groundwork for incredible intelligence in the various animal-related industries. If we know what animals are feeling we can design a much better world for them.”


The research could help farmers communicate with their chickens.
The research could help farmers communicate with their chickens.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Our methodology employs a cutting-edge AI technique we call Deep Emotional Analysis Learning (DEAL), a highly mathematical and innovative approach that allows for the nuanced understanding of emotional states through auditory data,” Cheok continued. “If we know what animals are feeling we can design a much better world for them.”

Cheok collaborated with a team of eight animal psychologists and veterinary surgeons who offered their insights about the emotional states of chickens. Together they analyzed a sample size of 80 birds and about 200 hours of sounds.

Scientists fed AI with 100 hours of chicken recordings and labeled each sound with an emotional state. 


Chickens have a variety of complex emotions, say researchers.
Chickens have a variety of complex emotions, say researchers.
Getty Images

They then uploaded 100 hours of new chicken sounds to AI and the technology was able to correctly pinpoint the chickens’ emotional states most of the time. 

“This research not only opens up new avenues for understanding and improving animal welfare but also sets a precedent for further studies in AI-driven interspecies communication,” said the team.

The scientists say that chickens are “highly social animals” and Cheok and his team plan to create a free app so that farmers can use the technology to communicate with their chickens.


Professor Adrian David Cheok is better known for his sex robot expertise.
Professor Adrian David Cheok is better known for his sex robot expertise.

This research has the potential to offer insights into animal welfare and to improve veterinary medicine, make for better conditions in poultry farming, lend a hand in animal behavior research and facilitate human-animal interaction, according to Farming Online.

Being chicken-brained might not be such a bad thing. Previous studies on chickens have found that they are highly intelligent and exhibit signs of self-awareness and even some numerical abilities.

Technology is ever-evolving and one startup claims their smart collar can help owners understand their dog’s barks.

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