Humans can’t leave us alone. Normally this makes us happy. But there is one group of people we would prefer give us some distance: Researchers. (Unless the researcher is our parent and we keep the relationship strictly unprofessional.)
This group of mad scientists is now, because of advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning coming close to being able to verbalize our thoughts and needs.
Isn’t that great? People who do little are going to turn into actual Dr. Dolittles.
Tails From Rainbow Bridge: The Age of the Talking Dog is Upon Us
Here is a secret about dogs. It’s not that we can't communicate with you, it’s that we don’t want to do it. Any idiot can speak. I learned this watching C-Span. It takes a superior intellect to communicate through smiles, head turns, and soul-searching looks from our beautiful eyes.
We have heard how you talk to one another. “How was your day?” “Good, how was your day?”
“Good.” “That’s good!” We refer to these interactions as human barking, and we find it as annoying as your find our yelping out the window at nothing.
The researchers are secretly video recording us and feeding the tapes into an AI algorithm which will study our every move to decipher what each bark and head turn means. But the joke is on them because most of the time we don’t know what we are talking about.
The ultimate goal is for us to be able to communicate by saying a thousand times a day “I want to eat,” or “I want to go for a walk,” which is quite a breakthrough since every pet parents know all we want to do is eat and walk. Their next project will be an algorithm to make parents understand that every move their teenage boy make means “I am thinking about sex.”
One of the studies is about sheep. Apparently, farmers can’t tell when sheep are in pain just by their facial expressions (probably because when the sheep is grimacing the farmer is behind them). The researchers think in a short time farmers will be able to tell if their sheep is sick, scared, or just unbelievably bored because they stand in a field all die.
Eventually, this research could lead to some good. We might be able to tell our parents when we are sick, or dogs who are aggressive and in danger of being euthanized may be able to communicate what is wrong, and with therapy, their lives could be saved. So, this research may have benefits to our species, and if that is so then, I support their work.
Just get ready for a world where your dog doesn’t endlessly bark at you, he endlessly says “feed me.”
Such is progress.