This is no accident. They have been selectively bred through generations to pay attention to people, and MRI scans show that dog brains respond to praise from their owners just as strongly as they do to food (and for some dogs, praise is an even more effective incentive than food). Dogs recognize people and can learn to interpret human emotional states from facial expression alone . Scientific studies also indicate that dogs can understand human intentions, try to help their owners and even avoid people who don’t cooperate with their owners or treat them well.
I feel like I’m caught in a whirlpool of “ Amusing Ourselves to Death ,” as author Neil Postman predicted 30 years ago . In the book, Postman contrasts two dystopian visions of the future. George Orwell’s 1984, where power is expressed directly through Big Brother, oppressively restricting people’s freedoms. And Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, where power is expressed indirectly , by saturating people with so many delightful distractions that they can’t see their oppression. Where people “come to adore the technologies that would undo their capacities to think.”