DAA Daily

Our dogs and cats could soon “speak” to us with the help of AI

JAPAN - JULY 17: Meowlingual, A Cat-Shaped Translator That Supposedly Translates A Cat'S Meows And Purrs Into Human Phrases In Tokyo, Japan On July 17, 2003 American Shorthair Mick seems to be indifferent to a prototype of Meowlingual, a cat-shaped translator that supposedly translates a cat's meows and purrs into human phrases, during a news conference in Tokyo by Japan's toymaker Takara Co - Takara that sold 300,000 dog's bark-translators called Bowlingual plans to sell Meowlingual in Japan in November - The cat translation device will likely sell for 8,800 yen (US$74), slightly cheaper than the 14,800 yen (US$125) Bowlingual. (Photo by Kurita KAKU/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

By: Destiny Mouawad, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint 

Researchers have long been at work trying to understand the varying body language, vocal communications and facial expressions of animals such as prairie dogs in order to understand how they go about prey and also their welfare. 

Dr. Con Slobodchikoff, a professor of biology at Northern Arizona University has been collecting the high pitched calls of prairie dogs for the past 30 years in order to understand the way they communicate with others when prey is near, Dr. Slobodchikoff has worked alongside computer scientists in order to use the collection of vocal pitches into an algorithm that then translates them into English. 

Alongside these efforts, Dr. Slobodchikoff had founded a company known as Zoolingua to compute facial expressions, pet sounds and body movements to eliminate any guesswork for pet owners, allowing them to better understand how they feel about them or even more substantial, better understand their welfare. 

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, reports and average of 390,000 stray dogs and 530,000 stray cats being euthanized a year in the United States of America, though in its early stages, the help of AI algorithms could allow humans to better cater the thousands of dogs and cats who exhibit aggressive behaviors or are in pain, allowing for a more clear diagnosis and better livelihood of our four legged companions.  

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