It's the subject of sci-fi fantasies, our favourite movies, and every pet owner's dream...and now finally it's a reality too.
Meet Alfie, the talking Chinese Shar-pei, and the first dog capable of giving a full keynote session and Q&A.
In a world where technology is pervading our everyday lives and disrupting the status quo across sectors, the development of technology to facilitate communication between us and our canine friends has never been more pawsible.
Now, thanks to recent innovative efforts in the lab by modern-day Dr. Doolittles and communication scientists, Alfie is the first pooch to step onto the podium wearing a revolutionary invention set to change pet-owner interactions forever.
As the charismatic hound 'speaks' into a highly sensitive microphone, sound waves pass through the advanced audio translation device embedded in his computerised collar to be decrypted and, incredibly, translated into human language.
People laughed but Rex Harrison was on to something.
The breakthrough comes as the culmination of a decade's research by animal behaviourists and scientists who have sniffed out the code behind the barks and snuffles made by our furry best friends.
As highly sociable creatures, equipped with prehensile mouths and sensitive noses, dogs have been involved in assisting humans for decades, from guiding the blind to sensing when a diabetic’s blood sugar is falling - but now they can even provide detailed accounts of the situation to their owners or, if necessary, the emergency services.
We can only guess at the other implications of this advancement in animal communication - from providing insights into animal neurology to creating a new source of witnesses to crimes: for example, children will no long able be able to blame their missing homework on being 'eaten by the dog', who will be able to confirm or deny the story.
The creators of the collar have announced that they are currently smoothing out glitches in order to introduce multiple language and accent settings - at the moment, Alfie is only able to speak in English, but, interestingly, with a Russian accent.
One thing is clear, however: as the first dog able to hold his own in conversation, and even share his opinions on a stage before large audiences, Alfie has set a successful precedent for future exploration within this developing field.