Talking To Dogs

Theoretical Physicist, Author, and Science Educator

Michio Kaku is a futurist, popularizer of science, and theoretical physicist, as well as a bestselling author and the host of two radio programs. He is the co-founder of string field theory (a branch of string theory), and continues Einstein’s search to unite the four fundamental forces of nature into one unified theory. He holds the Henry Semat Chair and Professorship in theoretical physics and a joint appointment at City College of New York and the Graduate Center of C.U.N.Y. He is also a visiting professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Kaku launched his Big Think blog, "Dr. Kaku's Universe," in March 2010.

  • Transcript


Michio Kaku:  Some people would love to talk to their pet dog, but there is something I learned and that is animals have their own language that we humans have yet to decipher.  Take a look at the porpoise.  I had a chance to swim with the porpoise for a Science Channel special and I was quite curious about what we know about the language of the porpoise.  Basically nothing.  We can tape record their language.  It has whistles.  It has clicks, but we don’t know what they’re saying, but there is a software program that can tell that it’s an intelligent language.  If you take the English language we know that the letter E is the most common letter and you can rank these letters by how often they appear.  That is how you know that the English language is a language of intelligent, sentient beings by using a computer program even if you don’t speak a word of English.  Well you can do the same thing with porpoises.  Run the language of a porpoise through a computer program and bingo.  It’s intelligent, but we don’t know what they’re saying.  So dogs, yeah, they may have a very sophisticated language, but we have yet to decipher all the whining, barking noises they make except of course the gross ones they make late at night, so we have a long ways to go before we can talk to our dogs. 

Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd