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[Before we put these questions to a sperm whale unit, we’d have to think hard about whether we’d act on the answers. Kristin Andrews told me a heartbreaking story about a chimpanzee named Bruno who was taught sign language at the University of Oklahoma. Bruno was encouraged to build his whole life around the practice of asking humans for things. But after a few years, the scientists’ grant ran out and he was transferred to a different facility. When one of the lab’s scientists visited him there, he was distressed to see that Bruno seemed upset. He kept signing Key and Out. The scientist had taught the chimpanzee to communicate, but even in the face of a clear request, the scientist couldn’t help him. “If these whales start saying Go away; make the ships leave, what will we do?” Andrews said. And how will it reflect on us as a society if we ignore them?](

I assume the writers of Extrapolations were up on this whale research a couple of years back.