Vint Cerf has a vision of the Internet one day being used as a medium for communicating with other species and even those from other planets. The man widely regarded as the father of the Internet has teamed up with musician Peter Gabriel, MIT physicist Neil Gershenfeld, and cognitive psychologist Diana Reiss to propose an “Interspecies Internet,” a new platform that would facilitate communication between humans and animals. Cerf and his partners took to the stage at the TED conference today to describe exactly what they are envisioning. “All kinds of possible sentient beings may be interconnected,” Cerf said, according to The Verge. “We’re beginning to explore what it means to communicate with something that isn’t just another person.” Stories have surfaced over the past few years of people using technology to communicate with animals like dolphins, elephants, and orangutans. The Miami zoo has been using iPads to “talk” to orangutans. This type of technology could eventually lead to the general public being able to communicate with the apes — who don’t have voice boxes or vocal cords.
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Cerf has also long talked of an “Interplanetary Internet” that could facilitate communication between planets, satellites, asteroids, robotic spacecraft, and crewed vehicles. Some of this is already starting to exist as people are able to have Google + Hangouts with the International Space Station and see photos of the Martian landscape that the Mars Curiosity Rover is beaming back to Earth. “What that means is that what we’re learning with these interactions with other species will teach us, ultimately, how we might interact with an alien from another world,” Cerf said, according to The Verge. “I can hardly wait.”