Growing up I had two dogs (Princeton and Socks) and a cat named Muffin. I thought nothing of the cost of the food, vet appointments, or toys. All I cared about was the fun and exciting adventures we had together. In fact, Anthrozoos, a quarterly journal focused on the interactions of people and animals, reported that pet owners were more satisfied with their lives than non-owners. It’s a nice fact, but as an adult, I see pets a little differently.
Pets cost a lot of money
Your sweet little kitty or happy puppy dog brings a lot of love into your life. But with the fun, the play, the kisses, and scratches come the bills, travel limitations, the unforgiving emergency medical expense and the not so necessary pet pampering. All in all, pets are loving creatures that tend to take a massive chunk of your income.
CNBC reported in 2017 that the lifetime cost of a cat can reach $30,942 while your favorite fluffy dog may be as expensive as $42,545. While these numbers include everything from kitty litter, to the ongoing costs of food, toys, and grooming, it’s still a pretty hefty amount of money. Consider families with multiple pets like mine. According to these numbers my parents dished out close to $116,032.00 for my furry childhood companions. To put this in perspective, it would take the average salary 2.5 years before tax, and with no other expenses, to pay for these pets. And trust me, these prices come before extra pet self-esteem boosting psychology or implants such as Neuticles.
“Some people throw the dog in the car and have him turned into a eunuch because they don’t care,” Mr. Miller said recently. “But there’s a certain segment of pet owners that do care, and that’s where Neuticles come in. And it’s not only canines and felines. We’ve done an elephant, we’ve done prairie dogs. I Neuticled a monkey in Pocahontas, Ark., and a colony of rats for the University of Louisiana,” said Gregg A. Miller, inventor of Neuticles, as reported by the New York Times. “Everyday pet owners who opt for Neuticles so their pet will maintain its dignity and self-esteem.”
Apparently, your puppy no longer needs to grow a pair. You can implant them; for a price.
What if your pets could pick up the tab?
With each passing year, we continue to discover the true value of data. It’s all around us. Helps us identify why people are getting sick and helps us to find cures for illnesses. Data helps citizens motivate governments to reduce air pollution, and data is easy for anybody to collect and resell. It’s so easy, that your favorite furry friend can get involved.
Animals tend to travel. They walk around your apartment, they go outside on walks and experience quite a few different things, types of air, weather patterns and much more. We already have pet trackers. Chips that you put on your pet’s collar to make sure you don’t lose them. These trackers can, quite honestly, do so much more.
Using data as supplemental income
MXC is working with Meerkat to create a small, inexpensive, low power sensor the size of the average color name tag. This sensor has the potential to track your pet’s location, while at the same time collecting environmental information about their surroundings. If you choose to, you can have this data listed in the MXC Data Market.
If you’re like me, your first thought might be privacy. What does this sensor collect? Will it collect information about me? Absolutely not. The data it collects is strictly location for your pet and environmental information about your surroundings. Then you get to choose whether the data is shared, and specifically which data could be shared. For example, if you want to be sure that nobody knows how dusty your flat is, then you can disable dust reporting.
Data listed in the market can be purchased by scientists around the globe, either as a data set or as a live feed from the sensor (if you wish to allow this). This information could improve pet healthcare, help governments reduce air pollution, it could add to pet safety. Quite honestly, the potential for this data is limitless.
You and Your Pet, Saving the World
If your money isn’t enough for you, let’s take a look at the classic big data example.
There’s an elephant in a room with four blind people. One reaches for the trunk and believes they have found a snake. Another goes for the tail. “We have a rope,” she says. The third blind person runs into the side of the elephant. “It’s not a rope, not a snake, it’s a wall!” The fourth hugs a leg “I found a tree!” It’s not until all of them speak together, combine the data, that they can identify that they are in fact in a room with an elephant.
It’s our responsibility to enable the collection of data from as many data points as possible. Until now this was difficult to do, nobody knew where to start. MXC is making it easy for each person to add new, unique data sources, to collect more data about this elephant of a world that we live in.
As more data is collected we will gain a better understanding of our world, and the various effects humanity has on it. I personally want the world to be inhabitable for the generations to follow. More data will help this happen.
You can Start Today
As the sensors are being developed and tested, there are a number of other ways you can get involved. Join us in our community to talk with other MXC enthusiasts. Share the project with your friends, family, colleagues or even strangers on the street. It’s only by working together that we can make a difference, and that difference starts with you.
Does this dog earn more than you? Not yet. But it may happen sooner than you think.
Originally published at https://blog.mxc.org on September 5, 2019.