My Dogs are Barking

Jan 16, 2008 at 11:56 PM
Read this article about the development of a computer program to figure out what dogs are saying (for consumer product research purposes).

Read Reuters Article about it

OK. Here's my comment on this:

If the computer is 43% right about what the dog meant, and people are 40% right about what the dog meant, who's figuring this out?

Can't be valid science if the humans are deciding whether they're right. How do they know that the second idea of what the dog meant was accurate?

It's impossible for a computer to stretch itself to decide whether it was previously right without coming to the original conclusion over again, or else reaching an equally fallible result...

So, what do they do afterward to verify with the dog that YES, that is what he meant? Who interviews the dog? How do they develop accuracy ratings like this?

It's suspect and I wanted the article to cover this is more detail. No such luck.

Personally, in my commline with my dog, I can tell exactly what he's saying all the time.

Barring his teeth and making a sneezing noise means "I want to go play in the yard".
Putting his forearm over my hand when I didn't ask for it means, "I was mad at you but now I forgive you even though you're still wrong."
When I'm in the kitchen, giving me the big doe eyes means he's asking for scraps.
When I'm not in the kitchen, giving me the big doe eyes means he's asking me to go make him a couple slices of bacon or a hot dog.
When he sighs and lays down it means, "Gosh, I'm getting old. That's just not as much fun as it used to be."
When he sighs and puts his head on my foot it means "Gosh, I'm getting old. I'm glad I have Desi to take care of me."
When he turns his head away from me when I talk to him he's saying, "You are saying something I don't like at all. I'm going to not listen so it won't happen."

But I'd never be able to tell my accuracy rating, because I can't ask Tucker if that's what he means.

And unless that program reachs a complexity equal to or greater than what I can intuit myself, I won't want it.

I don't need a computer program to be developed so that I can tell when my dog is barking at strangers or needs to pee. Those are dead obvious on ANY dog.

What we need is for the computer to be able to tell us when our dog misses our ex-boyfriend, and which one. What exact kind of meat we should give them. Whether or not he enjoys humping other males or just gets confused. Whether the guy he chased away was the same one that robbed the house down the street last week.

And that kind of detail probably won't be available for consumer purposes.

If they reached that kind of detail, the G-men would grab that tech up and start using strays to spy on us all.

No need to start looking at niehgboring dogs with suspicion for now, though. Dogs are too much like people. They have too much spirit there. That makes each dog unique. The people working on this will reach some success, but not much. They're probably looking at a race of unique individuals as though they all spoke exactly the same way, as if they were all lemmings, and dogs are unique in the animal kingdom for being, well, unique.

1 Responses to My Dogs are Barking

  1. Kat Says:

    Weird, man. Maybe someone will come up with a program to figure out what a baby is trying to say. Honestly I think that's as impossible to do via computer as it is to tell what a dog is saying. It sort of assumes that dogs are 1) completely simple, & simple minded and 2) all the same. I've never found either to be true.