We all know that’s not about to happen. But recent advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning suggest the longstanding dream of being able to converse with animals — in a limited fashion — could become a reality.

With the help of AI, scientists are learning how to translate animals’ vocalizations and facial expressions into something we can understand. Recent advances include an AI system that listens in on marmoset monkeys to parse the dozen calls they use to communicate with each other and one that reads sheep’s faces to determine whether an animal is in pain.

Taking note of the research, an Amazon-sponsored report on future trends released last summer predicted that in 10 years, we’ll have a translator for pets. Dr. Con Slobodchikoff, a professor emeritus of biology at Northern Arizona University and the author of “Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals,” is on the vanguard of animal communication.

More than 30 years studying prairie dogs have convinced him that these North American rodents have a sophisticated form of vocal communication that is nothing less than language. The prairie dogs make high-pitched calls to alert the group to the presence of a predator.

Slobodchinoff discovered that those calls vary according to the type of the predator as well as its size. The animals can combine their calls in various ways and can even use them to indicate the color of a nearby human’s clothing. Read more from nbcnews.com…

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