Culture

You will talk with the animals, Amazon’s futurists predict

By Oliver Smith 20 July 2017
Image: Getty/dageldog.
Summary

...grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals.

“What’s that Lassie?”

WOOF!

“There’s a fire at the old well and Jenny’s trapped?”

WOOF! WOOF!

One day, conversations like this might be commonplace, at least that’s if Amazon’s crack team of futurists are on the money.

Pet translators, implanted fitness trackers and ‘virtual shelves’ – which let you show off your digital collection of films, music and books – are all predicted by futurists Anne Lise Kjaer and William Higham, as part of Amazon’s new Shop of the Future online store.

Dolittle? Or do more?

Higham says translation devices will start between fellow humans. In fact we’ve already seen some of these come to market, and he then predicts these will move on to hands-free communication with our pets.

These devices will record a dog’s woofs or a cat’s miaows and give an explanation of what they’re trying to say.

We’re guessing mainly, “I’m hungry” and “walkies”.

It’s not only animals that will use technology to do more.

Fitness trackers will shrink to the point where they can be embedded in our bodies, and, in maybe our favourite prediction:

“New products like virtual shelves will let us display our personality by showing off our collections of digital films, music and books on any wall in our home,” says Higham.

They also say we’ll embrace a new concept of “simplexity” which will see artificial intelligence and voice controls come together to simplify daily tasks, like shopping (well the report was commissioned by Amazon).

Right now we’d just be happy with a smartphone that lasts a day without running out of juice.

But chatting with our pets doesn’t sound too bad either.

UPDATE 2017-07-20 – Changed to note the report was commissioned by Amazon, not written by Amazon.