Many of us consider the animals around us to be part of us.
We talk at length with pets and our furry friends and we often think they can understand what we are telling them.
But the gap between human and non-human communication is still very wide.
Will there come a time when, like Dr. Dolittle, we can talk to animals and they will respond to us?
Although it may seem like a matter of pure gossip and imagination, but is it possible to translate animal discourse with the artificial intelligence of machines and new technologies?
Animals communicate in many ways: by gestures, gestures, changing color, making sounds, releasing chemicals, producing waves, warming or cooling the body, and by touch.
There can be many reasons for these signals, which can range from attracting mates to warning about predators.
Predatory animals can communicate with their companions about the location of the prey’s presence.
Most of this type of communication involves transmitting information between animals of the same species, but examples of communication between species are also abundant, especially between predators and prey.
Think of an insect or fish that changes color to warn the attacker of its poisoning.
But can these incidents happen between humans and other animals?
Will we ever get along?
Pet owners know they can express their feelings and pets understand that.
If you scold a dog for something bad, he knows he is being told to walk away from him and respond accordingly. However, there is a danger of thinking that human communication is easier for animals.
As the American philosopher Thomas Nagel has said, the consciousness of animals is beyond our reach because of our own consciousness and special human experience.
His experience with the world in the rest of the animal kingdom is completely unknown to us.
So even if we understand what their whistles, meows, and growls mean, will we be able to understand their meaning?
In fact, we don’t even know how humans started talking.
Another problem with trying to understand animal language (if it exists) is that we don’t even fully know human language. Nor do we know how it developed.
We really don’t know how and why we created such a different communication system from other animals.
One theory is that our language gradually evolved, starting with physical signs and gestures. Then we made some sounds, until all the vocabulary was formed.
Another theory says that human language began as the song of a bird. It has a complex series of sounds in which its meaning lies.
But if either of these two things is true, then the question is why did the other species not develop their language in the same way?
Does any other organism use language in the same way as we do, not only to respond to external stimuli, but to express our abstract ideas and awaken creativity?
How far have we come in our efforts to understand and translate animal signals?
Coco, the famous gorilla who mastered 1000 sign language signs, has been extensively investigated.
In some areas of science, it was thought that Coco did not understand much or not at all what his gestures really meant.
Another example is that of parrots who can learn and speak 100 words. They can express their needs and desires, such as the need to eat.
But researchers don’t know if they really understand those words. Is it just a learned behavior?
Scientists are also able to transmit basic knowledge of communication with dolphins, elephants, cetaceans, horses, dogs and monkeys.
Is technology the answer?
How will the development of technology help us improve our understanding of animals?
In recent years, companies have claimed to have developed translation applications or interfaces in animal language.
But many of these claims are belied or only useful about very basic types of communication (such as that my dog is angry, sad, or asleep).
Artificial intelligence of machines and the development of deep learning algorithms have given rise to the idea of using big data to generate animal vocabulary.
A researcher who has spent decades studying the sounds of prairie dogs is confident that in the next ten years a machine will be available to translate the voice of domestic dogs.
But the problem continues. How will we ever know if what we think of as a barking dog is actually a dog saying something?
Can any animal tell us that our translation is accurate? And should we ever try to understand animals?
In the case of farm animals or pets, they may say something we don’t want to hear.