Imagine a world where your dog could just tell you what they want and how they feel. There would be less accidents and temper tantrums; but best of all, there would be a lot of good heart-to-hearts.
Scientists are currently developing a device that can translate your dog's barks into the English language, so your dream of fostering a stronger connection with your furry friend may become reality.
While studying prairie dogs, professor and animal behavior expert Con Slobodchikoff, from Northern Arizona University, discovered that those breed of dogs have different words to describe colors and species of predators.
This inspired Slobodchikoff to create a pet translator using artificial intelligence software that allows humans to communicate with their cat or dog.
“So many people would dearly love to talk to their dog or cat – or at least find out what they are trying to communicate. A lot of people talk to their dogs and share their innermost secrets," he said.
Here's how this is going to happen, and when you can possibly purchase this soon-to-be hot commodity.
Slobodchikoff has spent decades studying footage of dogs growling, barking, and howling using AI to understand how they communicate with one another.
Using machine learning, computers can identify what a dog is trying to say when they're wagging their tail, barking, cocking their head to one side, or growling.
Last year, he founded a company, Zoolingua, that uses a similar tool to understand prairie dogs's vocalization to translate facial expressions, sounds, and body movement.
There's no word on the exact date this device will be available to the public, but we can anticipate its release in the coming decade.
“Innovative products that succeed are based around a genuine and major consumer needs. The amount of money now spent on pets – they are becoming fur babies to so many people – means there is huge consumer demand for this. Somebody is going to put this together,” consumer futurist for Amazon, Wiliam Higham, said.
However, not everyone is optimistic about an effective pet translator device.
Juliane Kaminski, a psychologist from Portsmouth University who works on interactions between humans and dogs, said pets are not great communicators in the first place.
“We would not describe dogs’ forms of communication as language in the scientific sense. They do give out rudimentary signals of what they want and how they’re feeling,” she said.