New Technology Can Identify Birds by Their Songs

Just as Shazam helps identify songs from snippets, a new technology developed by British scientists will be able to match bird calls with a virtual database. If made into an app, it would give a whole new definition to the phrase "tweeting."

What's the Latest?


Amateur ornithologists will be delighted to hear scientists at Queen Mary University in London have developed a new technology that works much like the app Shazam, except instead of identifying that old Gin Blossoms tune couldn't remember, the new tech will be able to ID species of birds simply by listening to their calls. It's a fascinating example of nature researchers tapping into "feature learning," which analyzes raw data against information already stored in a database. Although the new technology is only in its infant stages, it has already stirred the imaginations of birders and scientists alike.

What's the Big Idea?

Until the development of this new technology, identifying birds by their calls has been the sort of thing only the most ardent birders could pull off. If this new technology were to be developed into a smartphone app, amateur enthusiasts would be able to take part in bird watching with relative ease. Practical everyday use is only the beginning of the researchers' vision. They hope the new technology will allow them to map out different species' vocal development and maybe even help provide insight on the nature of human vocals as well.

When Shazam-for-Birders does reach your smartphone, it'll give a whole new meaning to "tweeting."

Keep reading at Outside Online

Photo credit: Gerald A. DeBoer / Shutterstock

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

The colossal problem with universal basic income

Here's why universal basic income will hurt the 99%, and make the 1% even richer.

Videos
  • Universal basic income is a band-aid solution that will not solve wealth inequality, says Rushkoff.
  • Funneling money to the 99% perpetuates their roles as consumers, pumping money straight back up to the 1% at the top of the pyramid.
  • Rushkoff suggests universal basic assets instead, so that the people at the bottom of the pyramid can own some means of production and participate in the profits of mega-rich companies.
Keep reading Show less

Top vets urge dog lovers to stop buying pugs and bulldogs

Pugs and bulldogs are incredibly trendy, but experts have massive animal welfare concerns about these genetically manipulated breeds. 

'No nose, no thermoregulation, no health, no welfare.' Photo by terriermandotcom.blogspot.com
popular

Pugs, Frenchies, boxers, shih-tzus and other flat-faced dog breeds have been trending for at least the last decade, thanks to higher visibility (usually in a celebrity's handbag), an increase in city living (smaller dogs for smaller homes), and possibly even the fine acting of Frank the Pug in 1997's Men in Black. We're not ruling it out. These small, specialty pure breeds are seen as the pinnacle of cuteness – they have friendly personalities, endearing odd looks, and are perfect for Stranger Things video montages.

Keep reading Show less

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
Keep reading Show less