101 Things That Can Be Different In The Future: #7 Dogs

Are you ready for a world where you can design your dog?


Eva Tomas Casado

9 months ago | 4 min read

Are you ready for a world in which you can design your dog?

Uploaded by Karsten on Unsplash

Netflix just put on a new show “The Future of…”. Being a futurist (and a watching TV addict) of course I set the reminder and started watching it immediately. I started with the episode about dogs.

Well, it was interesting. While it looked deep on the topic of how we communicate with our pets in the near and far future, and how life could change for dogs, it did not look on for me far more interesting aspect:

How will our pets look in the future?

Uploaded by Karsten on Unsplash

The domestication of the dog happened thousands of years ago. How many thousand? Well, that is still part of ongoing research.

While the majority of research suggests that dogs were domesticated between 12,500 and 15,000 years ago, there is another group of researchers claiming that domestication could have happened as early as 130,000 years ago. This would mean that dogs were domesticated long before humans actually settled down and changed into an agricultural society.

Maybe you think now, what does it matter? But as a matter of fact, the when and where of the domestication of the dog is one of the big puzzle pieces missing in reconstructing human prehistory.

Just recently, results of a DNA study were presented, suggesting that modern dogs descend from at least two different types of wolves. This leads to the conclusion, that wolves have been domesticated in different areas of the world simultaneously.

But not all our modern dogs are wolve-like.

When did all the kinds of dogs develop?

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Selective breeding is claimed to be thousands of years old. But the idea of designing dogs with preferred characteristics kicked off in the Victorian Age, roughly 150 years ago.

Around the same time, Charles Darwin published his work “On the origin of species(…)” and Gregor Mendel his work on the rules of heredity.

Until today more than 400 different dog breeds are registered, and still, every year new kinds are added.

Schnoodle, Labradoodle, and Goldendoodle are just the tip of the iceberg.

Though the laudable goal of all the breeding efforts is to keep our best animal friends happy and healthy for a long time, at the same time the goal is to create the perfect family friend, the perfect watchdog, or the perfect competition dog.

So if the dog is near perfect, what can the master do to improve?

Uploaded by Camylla on Unsplash

Dog training is as old as the dog-human relationship. Some sources even suggest that the domestication of the dog started by stealing away wolf pups and training them as dogs.

Since around 1900 dogs were trained for war purposes.

In the last decades, dogs became more and more a part of our families. And with the changing of the position within the family, their treatment changed. Besides numerous guides on “how to train your dog”, the pet psychology field is booming.

But what if we could not only talk to our dogs but understand them?

Zoolingua is a venture founded already some years ago by Dr. Con Slobodchikoff. He is a professor emeritus at Arizona university who studied animal communication, to be precise the communication ways of prairie dogs, for more than 30 years.

He found that the way they use various sounds to alert and inform their mates, can be interpreted as a language, and together with a computer science colleague, they developed a translating algorithm.

Dr. Slobodchikoff is convinced that what is possible with prairie dogs has to be possible with pet dogs as well. Though the venture is still in a relatively early stage, the company is collecting dog videos, and feeding them into a machine-learning algorithm to translate behaviour+sound+facial and/or body expression into a human language.

The ultimate goal is a portable device, that can act as a mobile translator.

Are you ready for a world in which you can talk to your dog?

Uploaded by Tamas on Unsplash

These developments all focus on the real human- real dog relationship.

But there is another parallel trend that should not be overseen.

Virtual dogs.

No, I am not speaking of those petty apps, where Tamagotchi-like virtual creatures are needing your attention.

There is ongoing research studying the positive effect of virtual dogs in stressful situations. And those studies show, that in stressful situations, virtual dogs are preferred over virtual humans.

Additionally, there are apps on the market like DEX.

This app is already on the market for several years.

This means it is a question of time until mobile VR devices such as glasses or similar allow us to have this augmented reality experience not only in our living room but everywhere we go.

Still, all those dogs are set up in real-world surroundings. What about a metaverse?

The Digital Pets Companyis focusing exactly on that. They are launching 3-D AI-driven dogs for the metaverse.

Technology-wise, the pets will be secured as NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain.

You will be able to interact with your dog in a digital environment just as you would in the real world.

Via the use of tokens, you can train it.

Dog wellness brand Get Joy by DTC announced, that it is creating the first dog park for the metaverse. It will be called Get Joy Dog Zone and will be placed in Decentraland (an Ethereum-based virtual reality platform).

The company claims that they want to use the metaverse experience to ultimately build a dog wellness temple in the real-world also.

Currently, all virtual example dogs still look like the biological ones we know already.

But who says, that it needs to be like this in the near future? A metaverse is a place where a lot of disruption will take place, why should dog design not be one of them?

Are you ready for a world where you can design your dog?

This article is part of the series101 Things that can be different in the future. If you are interested in any specific topic or have other signals to show please comment or reach out to me.

Signals and sources:

Ice Age wolf DNA reveals dogs trace ancestry to two separate wolf populations

Dogs can't speak human. Here's the tech that could change that.

Get Joy Builds First Metaverse Dog Park to Expand Commitment to the Health and Happiness of Dogs

The Digital Pets Company launches crypto dogs for the metaverse


Created by

Eva Tomas Casado

Futurist | Writer | Storyteller | Loud Thinker







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