A Dr Dolittle app from Google?

Following on from yesterday, we have found out a bit more about this secret release from Google. It seems really hard to believe, but they genuinely claim to have invented something which will change the way we interact with the natural world forever.
An app that translates animals. It’s on the Google homepage and everything.
It all sounds very futuristic and a bit overwhelming. But according to various blogs and comments all over the internet, this software was actually only a hop, skip and a jump away from the software they’ve had on their Android mobile phone for ages: a feature called Google Translate (a voice recognition software that lets you translate one language to another.) According to their dev team, they’ve simply (simply!) combined this software with animal linguistic research data they’ve gathered from various animal science experts.
How can “Google Translate for Animals” possibly work?!! We’ve been doing some digging… a bloke Iol met on holiday works at Google, so we got in touch with him… He had this to say (*unofficially*):
“Google Translate for Animals is deceptively simple.
Here’s a very simplified run-down of the science behind it:
Imagine a library the size of the British Library, where each individual animal sound is stored. Everything from simple barks to complex squawks. Each one of those corresponds to a particular animal cognition. The handset’s processor has all these stored. So it is able to matches up a bark (for instance) to one of many distinct dog thoughts (happy, frustrated, broody, and so on) and displays the corresponding cognition in linguistic form on the screen.”
But how did Google compile this data?

“By working in tandem with experts in Animal Cognitive Behavioural Linguistics. For decades, scientists have been studying certain factors – which they call Principle Component Analysis, or PCA – which determine an animal’s propensity toward communication. Broadly – these come down to their environment, and their diet. As a general rule, you find that the higher they are in the food chain, the more articulate.”

So after receiving that we couldn’t help but wonder if this was for real? It seems impossible to believe. But then, didn’t people think that about flying to the moon once? If it’s true it’s absolutely incredible. We can talk to our pets and finally find out what they’re thinking!
Not only that – we think it’s surely got massive implications for the debate between animal and human rights. Surely animals will deserve more rights if they can speak for themselves?
Things like this might become a thing of the past, for one thing.


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