Lately, we have become witnesses to technological improvements in all areas of life. Translation apps have helped millions of people around the world to improve their experience while visiting a foreign country. However, what would you say if someone told you that animal sounds could also be translated into the English language? According to NBC News, that is not science fiction but a reality we are heading to.
Dr. Con Slobodchikoff is a professor who conducted research about the ways of communication between prairie dogs. Even though it may sound strange that prairie dogs are used for research first, it is actually a very good start because their vocalization is pretty sophisticated. He even discovered that prairie dogs have different calls when they see predators depending on the type, but also the size. They can even discern various colors. Dr. Con worked on an algorithm that people can use to translate the animal sound into the English language and understand their furry friends better. This algorithm is definitely a pioneer in the field – there is nothing like it in the world.
Luckily for us, that was just the beginning. He established a company under the name Zoolingua. Their goal is to translate the body movements, facial expressions, and sounds into something that we could easily understand. It would truly improve the quality of the relationship we have with our pets. We certainly consider them family members, this would just give them a voice and explain their behavior a little bit more.
Dogs are perfect for this kind of experiment since their level of understanding of human interaction is pretty high. They are extremely intelligent, so this would just make things easier. Dr. Con said that he believes that if he could manage to do this with prairie dogs, he can certainly do it with cats and dogs.
This project has a very large potential and it will need a lot of time to develop into what is made to be. At the moment, it involves inputting videos that show all kinds of body movements and barks. Each one is categorized in order to be used in the algorithm.
The goal and hope of the researchers working on this project are to have a simple device that could be used for translating the dog’s barks into English, but someday it may even work the other way around – to translate the commands we give to our dog to barks.
The technology of this kind would certainly open a completely new window of understanding animals and perhaps even find out something new about them. One day, we could be able to communicate with whales, dolphins, octopi, or elephants.
Just keep in mind that those conversations may be mainly directed towards asking for food, walks, or playing. Still, it is a great project and a wonderful idea, so the only thing left to do is to wait until it is available for use.