Scientists Are Making A Pet Translator So You Can Hear ‘Feed Me’ Loud & Clear
By Mikelle Leow, 16 Jan 2018
Image via Shutterstock
A pet interpretation tool is in the works to help narrow the language barrier between domestic animals and their owners, reports NBC News.
Led by Dr Con Slobodchikoff—an animal expert and professor emeritus of biology at Northern Arizona University—the project is assisted by artificial intelligence, which helps translate the vocalizations and facial expressions of animals into “something we can understand.”
In the 30-odd years that Dr Slobodchikoff has spent studying prairie dogs, he’s discovered that the species has its own vocabulary. High-pitched calls warn group members of approaching dangers; these animals would even adjust their intonations to indicate color or the type of predator.
He eventually developed an algorithm that could convert these calls into English. However, he felt that it wasn’t enough to understand prairie dogs, so he started a company called Zoolingua in 2017 that aims to translate pet vocalizations and body language.
“I thought, if we can do this with prairie dogs, we can certainly do it with dogs and cats,” Dr Slobodchikoff explained.
So far, the Zoolingua team has collected thousands of videos to feed its AI. The project is still in its early stages, however, so you might have to wait awhile before you hear your pet tell you that it loves you—but do you really want to know if your cat is plotting against you?
Scientists say we should have some sort of "Pet Translator" in the next few years. I dunno. Do we really want to know what our dog thinks of his Christmas sweater?— Woody Wood (@radiowoody) January 12, 2018
Imagine if you suddenly found out that your "best friend" really thinks that you are an asshole and only used you for food. It better to believe they love us dearly.— Markus (@MarkusBerger161) January 12, 2018
A pet translator could help you convert your dogs barks into English https://t.co/G74Czf1SUX via @MailOnline
the next thing you will be telling us is the reason dogs bite and kill people is because there frustrated because hillary didn't get elected— jim lawrence (@bonkers1941) January 12, 2018
[via NBC News, cover image via Shutterstock]
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