Is communicating with pet dogs and cats really possible with Artificial Intelligence?

Pet dog
Representational image Pixabay

Are you the one who loves to talk with your pet dog? Don't worry, as soon, you will be able to accomplish this with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI). According to latest reports, scientists in the United States are working on an advanced instrument which is capable of translating the barks of dogs into human language. If everything goes as planned, this device will be launched within the next ten years, so that you can easily communicate with your pet dog in the most lovable manner.

The complexity of animal language

But is it possible to conduct a heart-to-heart conversation with animals if this device becomes a reality? According to experts, there is a huge difference between animal and human cognition, and it is very difficult to understand the exact mindset of animals even if artificial intelligence is being implemented to the maximum. However, experts believe that the language of dogs can be effectively accessed with the help of brain imaging technology.

In the case of human beings, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to detect mental states by looking at the brain activity. Dr. Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory University believes that the same technique can be used to understand the brain activity of dogs too. Berns has succeeded in making the dog lie still inside the brain scanning devices which helps the machine to read the brain activity of dogs. As per Berns, dogs are complying with these experiments, as they consider humans more as friends than just hands that feed them.

"Their reward system in the brain is driven as much by praise as food. This reinforces the notion that the dog enjoys the social bond with humans by itself," said Berns, reports NBC News.

Advantages of understanding the language of animals

If the machine which understands the language of pets becomes a reality, it will help pet owners to build a close emotional tie with the animal, and it would also eliminate guesswork while caring for animals.

For example, interpreting their signs and sounds will help to quickly identify animals which are sick by detecting signs of pains in their face and moans.

Animals have their own advanced language

The report by NBC News states that Dr Con Slobodchikoff from Northern Arizona University has spent more than 30 years learning the behavior of prairie dogs, and the sophisticated ways in which they communicate. During the course of research, Con Slobodchikoff has understood that animals have their own advanced language, which they use for communication.

For example, prairie dogs vary their high-pitched warning calls if a predator is there in the area. These animals also blend their noise in a number of ways with certain combinations which are supposedly capable of understanding the colors of outfits worn by humans near them.

Now, with the help of a computer engineer, Con Slobodchikoff is working to develop an algorithm capable of converting the barks of dogs into English. The researcher has also set up his own company named Zoolingua, a firm which is dedicated to training pet translators that can interpret gestures, sounds and facial expressions to human language.

"I thought, if we can do this with prairie dogs, we can certainly do it with dogs and cats," said Con Slobodchikoff, reports NBC News.

The project of Con Slobodchikoff is now in its early stages. The researcher is now amassing thousands of videos and pictures featuring barks and body movements of dogs and other pets. With the help of these videos, an Artificial Intelligence algorithm will be created to interpret the actual signals of the pet's movements.

This article was first published on January 15, 2018
Related topics : Artificial intelligence