Investigation into Pet Translator Devices
According to an Amazon-backed report, pet translators will allow humans to converse with dogs within 10 years.
After using an AI software to analyze calls made by prairie dogs, a professor at Northern Arizona University is attempting to raise funds to create a cat and dog translation device.
Con Slobodchikoff discovered that animals employ different words in reaction to predators of different colours. He is now considering similar applications to household pets.
“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.
“With cats, I’m not sure what they’d have to say. A lot of times it might just be ‘you idiot, just feed me and leave me alone,’” Slobodchikoff jokes.
Consumer futurist William Higham wrote a report for Amazon which heeds to Slobodchikoff's research. He is optimistic that a device will soon be created to facilitate human-animal communication.
“Innovative products that succeed are based around a genuine and major consumer need. 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,” Higham states.
However, psychologist Juliane Kaminski from Portsmouth University casts her doubt on the project.
“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,” Kaminski says.