Pet translators might not be a fantasy ten years from now, according to futurologist William Higham. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has already backed the claims reiterating that Artificial Intelligence devices, capable of translating animal woofs and meows could be on the horizon.
The e-commerce giant already sells a device that transfers human voice into meows using samples from 25 cats. Such inventions are already fuelling talk that pet translators could evoke strong demand especially from pet lovers wishing to understand what their pets are saying.
Amazon backing such an endeavor does not come as a surprise given the big investments it has directed towards AI in a bid of coming up with ground breaking technologies.
“Innovative products that succeed are based on a genuine and major consumer needs. The amount of money now spent on pets – they are becoming fur babies to so many people – means there is huge consumer demand for this. Somebody is going to put this together,” said Mr. Higham.
Work on pet translators has been ongoing for some time Con Slobodchikoff, a professor at North Arizona University having studied prairie dogs behavior for 30 years. The Professor has already used an AI software to analyze prairie dog calls from which he has deduced that their communication system comprises of almost all the aspects of a language.
Advances in technology have led to improvements in automatic speech recognition and translation. Development of algorithms capable of interpreting different languages is already giving hope of similar technology being used to interpret what animals are saying.
However, Julianne Kaminski a psychologist at Portsmouth University believes it could take some time before making sense of what dogs imply when they bark or cat’s meow. According to the scientist, animal sounds can only be viewed as rudimentary signals and not forms of communication as a language.
Translation devices according to Kaminski would make a lot of sense in helping people understand what their pets imply with each signal. The fact that so many people would like to respond to their animals or find out what they are trying to communicate presents a unique opportunity that Amazon believes AI can address.