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What will be the skill most in demand over the next century? [Jan. 17th, 2008|08:19 am]
So, driving to work this morning....driving very carefully because my car is getting new brake pads today, so I'm borrowing a neighbor's newish car and of course the weather is forecast to be dreadful and despite not having had an accident in bad weather for near two decades, I am PETRIFIED that today my luck will run out. Because the gods of fortune, along with certain robins, think that pooping on my head is FUNNY.

And I hear on the radio that they developed software to interpret dog barks. Until I find out that basically it can differentiate between an alone-bark, a going on a walk-bark, a bark I can't remember and a playing/fighting bark.

Right there you've lost me -- because what is really, the only bark we need to interpret: whether a dog is playing or fighting. A big animal with teeth, really, all I want to know is: is it pissed off at me.

But okay, okay, maybe this will have some arcane use -- although the researcher's goal of "helping us communicate better with dogs"...not so much. Unless they develop one that can differentiate between Willow's "You have 30 seconds to get me outside or I'm taking yet another wizz on the rug" bark and her "I'm just busting on ya and love to see you do my bidding" bark.

Anyway, then they give these astonishing results: a human can correctly guess the bark only 40% of the time. (I suspect that to fall here, they used people who had dogs, but tested them on random, not their own, dogs' barks.) But the computer, using this new software got a whopping 43% right! Whoo-hoo!

Three percent? No offense, but this is barely registering as better. And now I get to the question asked in my Subject Heading: The skill most in demand? The ability to make a good decision about whether technology is worth it or not. Here I've got software that is right 43% of the time. A human is right 40% of the time. So the computer is more right. But a human already has the software to perform the task and while we are prone to powering down...we usually can power up faster. I'm betting that we could train the person to do better. Plus, if the dog pees on us, we still work.

(Disclaimer: yes, I know that the software will eventually have more useful applications, yada, yada. Jeez, don't be so tedious! But even you have to admit that maybe they rushed the press release on this one...)

[User Picture]From: pyllgrum
2008-01-17 02:11 pm (UTC)
I googled "dog translator" and found out that there have been various announcements about such a device for the last 7 years. Most of the past announcers have been Japanese; what made yesterday's announcement unique is that the inventors were Hungarian.

Which means one of the translated barks was "who put the hot paprika on my kibbles?"
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[User Picture]From: 3fingeredsalute
2008-01-17 02:12 pm (UTC)
Don't mistake "news" for "press releases" where the latter is really just "Take a look-see at what I've been spending your tax dollars through my government grant upon!" Or something like that.

A 3% improvement isn't even compensating for the error margin, but it's a good first step. I mean -- computers? Thinking? Interpreting dog's barks as well as a human? That's a bigger story, imho.

Now we need a special Roomba attachment to go break up the dog-fight like big mama wielding a rolling pin coming down the street to break up their kid's fight. And while we're at it, maybe an ASIMO device to let the poor leg hopping, poopy-dance performing dog out to the back yard if you get stuck in traffic? Nah -- the dogs will probably be terrified of it!

"Cleanup, aisle 9!"
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[User Picture]From: 3fingeredsalute
2008-01-17 02:16 pm (UTC)
Just as I wrote this, I remembered to go check today's woot.com product. Can you believe it? $159.99 for a "iRobot Roomba Scheduler with Intellibin for Pets"

The gods, I can hear them giggle as they mock me to my face. *g*
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[User Picture]From: 3fingeredsalute
2008-01-17 02:39 pm (UTC)
Sorry to bogart your blog-entry, but... I was just curious.

What is the definition of the 40-43% "understanding" of dogs' barks? I mean, what percentage to we understand/misunderstand other humans? 43% sounds like far better than most people's comprehension of whatever comes out of my mouth -- at least here in the office.
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2008-01-17 06:09 pm (UTC)
"Understanding" means did you label the bark correctly.

The I'm alone and bored bark. (They do bark differently when it's just to kill time.)

The let's go for a walk bark.

The fighting/play bark.

And the other one, that fell into my Diet Mountain Dew while driving and now it's all soggy and I can't remember it.

You hear a bark played back and you have to label what kind it is. As did the computer.

I agree, "understanding" is stretching it. And I consider myself pretty fluent in my own dogs' barking. Of course, I've got Mr. Simple, Percy, who's pretty much got a "hey, someone's at the door" and "hey, someone's walking by the yard" and "omigod, you'rehomeyou'rehomeyou'rehomeyou'rehome...edited for the sake of brevity" bark. And Willow, who not only has a full arsenal, but LIES.
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[User Picture]From: lowlandscot
2008-01-18 12:13 am (UTC)

But What If Your Dog Doesn't Bark?

'Cause one of mine doesn't. She quacks. She howls like a wolf. She makes a sort of burpy noise. She snores. But she never barks. She's a Siberian Husky, so maybe we have to wait until a team of Russian researchers announces software to translate dog barks.
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[User Picture]From: stonethrow
2008-01-17 04:22 pm (UTC)

Talk Dirty to me

Funny - I did not sign in to see your post and it was flagged as adult content.

Needless to say I was disappointed when in fact the worst thing you said was Poop.

poop - poop - poopsy - poop

there - that must be rated XXX (or is that PPP)
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2008-01-17 06:15 pm (UTC)

Re: Talk Dirty to me

I've enabled my account to be very easily flagged as horrible and obscene. Why not? It's ENTICING...if the movie industry can work it, so can I!

Besides, while I'm a pottymouth of the nth degree, I fully support people's desire to not HAVE to see if it they don't want to. I HATE seeing bumperstickers or t-shirts with bad words on it. Sorry, but keep that shit private. giggle.

I mean, if you're fucking talking to me, you asswipe, or reading my goddamned journal, then screw you and your nipples, you asshole, you'd better button down your dick, 'cause I'm going to fling all sorts of shit at you, you monkeyfuck.

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[User Picture]From: stonethrow
2008-01-17 07:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Talk Dirty to me

That so turned me on.

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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2008-01-17 08:02 pm (UTC)

Re: Talk Dirty to me

I'm laughing so hard I'm crying...


Whew. My immune system is really crankin now!

I'm sorry- I still think it's funny that humans think we're so dang smart and can only understand Man's Best Friend 40% of the time. Our old Frank the Cat only had three brain cells and still he knew how to tell time, get us to open doors, cans and bed covers and could sulk better than anyone I've ever met of any species. He would eat crunchies deliberately so that he could hurk them up in revenge for some slight or another- on the bed, on the heater vent (only when the heat was on) and even, once, on the stairs so that William, going down for morning coffee had to do an amazing dance to avoid stepping in any one of the three, carefully placed still steaming piles of slightly digested vomit. My sister saw Frank peeking around the bottom doorway to watch and swears he was miffed that his trap failed to catch his intended prey.

Golly we miss that old guy...
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