Thanks to some highly sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI), scientists are figuring out ways to translate animals’ vocalizations and facial expressions. A trend report released by Amazon last year even predicted that a pet translator would become a reality in the next ten years. One of the most esteemed people in this space, Dr. Con Slobodchikoff — a prof of biology at Northern Arizona University and the author of “Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the the Language of Animals”— has dedicated most of his professional career to studying prairie dogs and their communication style. According to Slobodchikoff, the dogs use various calls to alert the rest of the group about certain traits pertaining to predators. They also can combine these calls to indicate the color of a nearby person’s clothes. Other than being able to pickup on non-verbal cues from our favorite furry companions, this technology will also come in handy for animals with misunderstood behavioral problems who end up in shelters. For instance, Slobodchikoff says that we might be able to figure out why a dog might be fearful, “and instead of backing the dog into a corner, give the dog more space.” For farmers, this might mean being able to interpret facial cues and know when one of their animals is sick and in pain. Could a Translator for Woofs, Meows and Wags Be Coming Soon?
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