Technology opens new capabilities to see invisible, to hear unheard, but what about the ability to understand what we cannot even comprehend? For example, animal language, newly discovered ancient human languages … alien signals? We created such technology for Mars missions and … ants helped us in this challenge.
Travel to Mars is a challenging project. It is important to be prepared to coming problems. The first sign of a tension reveals itself in communication. But reading or eavesdropping on what people say is not a good idea. We need to understand the meaning of a message to detect a problem and don’t understand it to respect privacy. Typical inventive challenge – two contradicting requirements. At this point we remembered our experiments with ants. We could not talk to ants, but we needed to understand the meaning of their communication. We found that each ant has an individual unique value (meaning!) for the colony. Just like words in a text – each one has meaning and value! If we create the link between the value of a word and a problem it represents - challenge is resolved. We developed a software that reveals problems without understanding of the content or even a language used in a message. Ant-algorithm works even when astronauts mix several languages and ignore grammar rules. Thus, ants helped us to create a “problem-sensor”. This result is ground-breaking – it opens future possibilities to understand the language of nature!