A smarter dialogue with fish

June 2021

Most people believe that fish, unlike mammals, do not have emotional perceptions and lack both interactivity and affection. This leads to lower empathy towards these creatures and an attitude of objectification. Simultaneously, fish are very difficult to decipher, as if forced to suffer in silence without visible signals of distress. This translates to a dramatic premature mortality rate, in both domestic and aquaculture environments. My research led me to realize that the whole time I was snorkelling underwater, the fish were actually communicating - using movements, behaviours, rituals, colours and textures. We are just not yet able to decode their visual language. Hence, welcome Naiad, the first AI communication tool that deciphers fish behaviours, enabling safer interactions and improving their well-being. This fully automated fish decoder can drastically reduce intervention time and be scaled to a wide variety of fields, including the breeding of endangered species and aquaculture.

Exhibited for:
- RCA satellite show;
- Dyson School Summer Show (ICL);
- IBM mini show.

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Through artificial intelligence, Naiad identifies parameters that are totally invisible to the human eye, if not to the eye of a few experts. And it converts these readings regarding stress level and fish behaviours into an evaluation of emotional state which sets the basis for the communicative occasion.

Movement is one of the parameters detected. The paths are compared with pre-existing behavioural models deriving, for the most part, from previous research by experts in the field. If a certain behavioural pattern is recognized, a state is suggested to the machine. For example, tapping on the aquarium glass pushes the fish to jump with an increase in speed (fig.A), if the fish is stressed it tends to stay close to the aquarium walls looking for support (fig.B).

An experimental interface: the gaze is applied using AR technology on the real fish as a sort of filter that changes constantly according to the fish readings and proved to be an immediate and direct way for the understanding of the psychosomatic well-being. 

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1. Endangered species
2. Fish farms
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The number of endangered fish rose by 240% in the last decade*. Many of these species cannot be bred in captivity. Naiad in this sense can be used for research purposes and to subsequently recreate optimal reproductive conditions.

On fish farms, 40 to 90% of fish die each year from eliminable factors*. According to FAO they currently share 47% of total fish production, and the production is projected to overtake capture fisheries in 2024. 
You can only imagine the tons of fish wasted unnecessarily. 

Naiad is the result of a multidisciplinary work that involved the external consultancy of professionals. The project was carried out in close collaboration with scientists that validated the entire technical background.