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Near Future BCI = Talking Dogs?

Animals BCI Communication Translation

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7 replies to this topic

#1
Alislaws

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You may not have realised, but this could actually be quite close!

If you have seen the movie "UP" you may remember* that it features dogs with collars which allow the dogs to talk.
 
I was watching a compilation of dogs making weird noises (because why not?), and it was obvious that what a lot of these dogs were doing was trying to copy human noises.
 
Unfortunately they lack the right vocal equipment for this (some of them got pretty close though!). However it is clear that they understand quite a few different words so if they did have the physical ability to speak, it looks like their brain would be up to the task, even if they are just capable of single words like "walk", "food", "play" etc. so it seems to me like its the physical side of things that is preventing them.
 
However If we assume that we are looking at a leap forward in light weight wearable BCI Tech in the next few years (Openwater) Then it seems reasonable to me that we might soon be able to put a little woolly hat on a dog, which would give it the ability to speak human languages.
 
The complexity of it's speech will likely depend on the complexity of its thinking, but from a tech perspective translating a dog should be less complicated than translating a human, and we all know BCI to text/speech for humans will be a huge priority. 
 
Am I overestimating dogs? or underestimating the complexity of this? What do you think?

​EDIT: Also if you think this is feasible, what will be the impact (if any) of intelligent animals (dogs, cats, elephants, dolphins, whales, apes, pigs? etc.) being able to speak? would we eat less meat if pigs could actually say "stop eating us you dickheads!" 
 
 
*you may have repressed all memory of the movie "UP" because the beginning is so depressing, If so, you made the right choice. 

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#2
starspawn0

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Single word responses like "happy", and even multiword responses like "feed me", are probably possible, and near-universal across multiple species (cats, dogs, etc.).


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#3
funkervogt

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I'm not sure if such a thing will exist in the "near future," but I believe some combination of technologies, such as BCIs, brain implants, and wearable sensors will enable us to understand what some animals like dogs are thinking, feeling, and trying to communicate. 



#4
Yuli Ban

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The main problem is translating signals into human words. How do we know that one particular burst of neural activity means "Feed me!" while another means "Pet me!" and a third means "I need to poop!" and whatnot? Dogs can certainly communicate on some level with us since they co-evolved to be able to utilize humans for their own needs, but there will need to be a lot of testing and refinement. I don't doubt it can be done, of course.


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#5
tomasth

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There are automatic sysems to watch over crops and other plants , so maybe the animal version ?

If they can handel walks , pet sitter are gonna be unemployed.



#6
Yuli Ban

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On a basic level, we can definitely understand them. You can tell when a certain bark is playful, angry, begging, sad, or fearful. But these are based on emotional information for the most part. This is simple to understand. As far as we know, dogs don't engage in conversation. Once you decipher canine emotions and which emotions peak with certain vocalizations and body movements, you can effectively decipher dog language almost perfectly. This fares similarly for cats. 
 
Where it really becomes a challenge is with animals whom we know have organized language, such as dolphins, elephants, and crows. Our translations of related Romance languages are still spotty and overly formal, though very high-end methods are approaching human-level translation. When it comes to more phonetic and symbolic languages likes Chinese, translation becomes even spottier. But in order to understand how difficult it might be to translate animal languages, you have to look at how computers fare against something like the Voynich Manuscript or Linear A. To this day, we haven't adequately translated either. 
With human-dolphin translations, there is no individual of either species that can speak the others' languages. We can't even learn how to, because dolphins and whales can transmit entire images to each other. We have to go directly to the source if we want to understand them.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#7
zEVerzan

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I think dogs also communicate by scents and pheromones in addition to vocalizing, that humans can't understand. If anyone finds a way to convert scent-based communication into speech, that would be super cool.


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#8
Alislaws

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I think dogs also communicate by scents and pheromones in addition to vocalizing, that humans can't understand. If anyone finds a way to convert scent-based communication into speech, that would be super cool.

You could put a detector on the collar potentially, the output from this could be read by the AI that is trying to interpret the dog's thoughts. Over time it might be able to figure the relationship between pheromones and speech/communication.

 

If you could scan the Dog's blood chemistry at the same time you could develop an idea of exactly how hungry/happy etc. the dog was, and compare this with neural activity, if it only exhibits a pattern when it has high hunger levels, that would be more likely to be translated as meaning feed me, than a pattern that occurs at low hunger levels. 







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Animals, BCI, Communication, Translation

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