If you have ever watched your pets closely, you might have noticed how they communicate with you using movements such as jumping and tail wagging, or making noises. Although we cannot always tell what they mean, the more time you spend with your pets and get used to each other, the easier it can become to understand them. However, animals still have their own specific language, and researchers are hoping that in the near future there will be a pet translator available that will help you convert animal languages into human language, so that we can understand them better.
Con Slobodchikoff, a researcher from Northern Arizona University in the US has studied communications between prairie dogs by using a small set of cameras and microphones harnessed on their bodies. He found that these animals have their own language consisting of different pitch levels that they use, for example, to warn each other when they sense danger from predators. Their language is so complex that it can be used to distinguish colors, shapes, or types of predators, such as humans, hawks, and wolves. The lessons learned from this study on prairie dogs can be applied to other animals such as cats or dogs.
Moreover, researchers are working with scientists to use AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning to develop translation devices by using algorithms that remember different behaviors such as barking sounds, tail wagging, and facial expressions, and computing these pieces of information to translate them into English. This idea of developing a pet translator is receiving a lot of attention from both animal and technology lovers. Aside from helping pet owners to understand their animal friends better, this technology also brings hope that we can reduce the suffering of animals. For example 2–3 million dogs die every year as they are unable to communicate their needs to their owners.
This dream of every animal lover is very close to coming true, as Amazon is currently working on a gadget that will let you communicate with your pet, which should be launched within the next 10 years. Although this might seem like a long time, it is worth waiting for as it will benefit generations of pets and their owners. Just imagine the day when you can understand your animal friends so much better!
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