What are you talking about, little pig? Scientists, AI team up to analyze pig sounds

As the saying goes, “If you haven’t eaten pork, you should have seen a pig walk.” If a pig passes by and hears the pig’s bark, can you tell whether the pig is happy or not?

Successfully parsed pig calls
On March 7, an international conference organized by members of the University of Copenhagen (University of Copenhagen), ETH Zurich (ETH Zurich) and the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE) The team’s findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, confirmed that pigs’ meows could be analyzed for emotion.

Unprecedented first group of scientists
The international research team, with 16 members from Denmark, Switzerland, France, Germany, Norway and the Czech Republic, is the first in the world to translate pig calls into actual emotions. Scientists said that using AI to compare the corresponding emotions of pigs’ calls such as “woo”, “snoring” and “screaming” is expected to automatically detect the health status of animals.

Every move can’t escape the eyes of scientists
Scientists used AI to analyze 7,414 pig calls recorded by more than 400 pigs, mostly from pig pens and other commercial pig farms, and a few from experimental sites.

Scientists at the experimental site create various simulated scenarios for pigs, hoping to evoke more nuanced emotions in pigs. For example, compare the emotional reactions of pigs in the experimental space with/without food and toys; or prepare some unfamiliar objects to observe the interaction process of pigs. The pig’s every move will be carefully recorded throughout the process.

Pig language has mystery, positive and negative emotions sound different
Scientists have found that in situations that tend to trigger positive emotions in pigs, such as when piglets are squeezed together to drink milk, run around and play with their families, pigs often make short, low-amplitude calls. Turn to low frequencies.

Situations that easily trigger negative emotions in pigs, such as fighting with other pigs, pushing, or being castrated, or waiting to die in the slaughterhouse, the pigs will make a lot of screams, low grunts, howls, etc.

Scientists say that this method can determine the mood of the pig when it croaks, and the accuracy rate can reach 92%.

Parsing other animal calls is just around the corner
Professor Elodie Briefer, an animal communication expert at the University of Copenhagen, and his colleagues believe that this technology could be applied to future automated systems in animal husbandry, allowing pig farmers to assess the mental health of pigs by monitoring their calls.

Although the field of studying animal emotions is relatively new, it is generally accepted that the mental state of animals affects physical health. Professor Briffey said: “We already understand the emotions contained in pig calls, and now we need to map these calls to developed an app for pig farmers to improve animal welfare.” She added: “If there is enough data, the same method can be applied to other animals to analyze their emotions.”

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