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Artificial intelligence scientists developing tools to decode what your dog’s barks mean

Ann Arbor, Michigan Researchers at the University of Michigan are investigating how artificial intelligence techniques can be used to understand dog communication.

Scientists are developing tools to distinguish whether a dog’s barking is playful or aggressive, and hope to glean more information from the dog’s barks, such as age, breed and sex.

“By using a speech processing model initially trained on human speech, our research opens a new window on how we can leverage what we’ve built so far in speech processing to begin to understand the nuances of dog barks,” said Rada Michalchea, director of the University of Michigan’s AI Institute.

The researchers studied the vocalizations of 74 dogs in a variety of situations.

The study found that AI models originally trained on human speech can be used as a starting point for training new systems targeted at animal communication.

“There’s a lot we still don’t know about the animals that live in our world,” Michalcea adds. “Advances in AI have the potential to fundamentally change our understanding of animal communication. Our findings suggest that we may not need to start from scratch.”

Researchers at the University of Michigan are investigating how artificial intelligence techniques can be used to understand dog communication. Strelchuk – stock.adobe.com

Michalcea said the findings show that sounds and patterns derived from human vocalizations can serve as a basis for studying and understanding the acoustic patterns of other sounds, including animal vocalizations.

But development of AI to analyze animal vocalizations has been hampered by a lack of publicly available data, the researchers say.

But development of AI to analyze animal vocalizations has been hampered by a lack of publicly available data, the researchers say. Igor – stock.adobe.com

“It’s physically very difficult to pick up and record animal sounds,” said Artem Abzaliyev, lead author of the study. “In the wild, you have to record them passively, or in the case of pets, you have to get permission from their owners.”

Scientists can now reuse human speech analysis models to harness powerful speech-enabled technology that recognizes spoken words and speakers.

Scientists have succeeded in reusing a human voice analysis model. Seventy Four – stock.adobe.com

“These models are able to learn and encode very complex patterns of human language and speech,” Abzaliyev noted, “and we wanted to see if we could leverage this ability to identify and interpret dog barks.”

According to the study, the new research also has important implications for animal welfare: understanding dog barks could significantly improve how humans understand and respond to their dogs’ needs, improving dog care and preventing dangerous situations.

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