Imagine a device that would let you "talk" with your dog or cat. One that could help you ask a cow a question or converse with a dolphin. Two Arizona scientists say computers may someday bridge the language gap between humans and other animals.
"You could have this little thing hooked to your belt and you could speak and it could be translated into animal language," says John Placer, a computer scientist at Northern Arizona University.
It sounds like pure science fiction, and at this point it is. "We're a long way off from that," says Placer. But he and biologist Con Slobodchikoff, also of NAU, are working toward this very goal. The two are applying principles of artificial intelligence and fuzzy logic to animal language systems in the hope of cracking the code.
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