Saturday, June 17, 2006

Smarter monkeys

Maybe Bush really is a chimp, after all--or perhaps a rhesus monkey.

It turns out that monkeys are smarter than they were thought to be, even understanding causality, and not just in situations to which they've been exposed to before, but in novel ones as well.


At 3:00 PM, June 17, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

David Brin wrote some novels about uplifting neo-chimps and neo-dolphins. Dolphins and Chimps have quite a lot of potential for budding self-aware beings. They won't evolve to that point by themselves, either because we fill that slot already or because it would take too much time.

If we can't create and teach sentient self-awareness to machines and animals in 500, 5000, 50000 years then we don't deserve the title of "Top Sentient Pack Being" on this planet or any other.

At 3:20 PM, June 17, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Btw, links broken. Some editing gives you this working linke to the monkey.


At 5:38 AM, June 19, 2006, Blogger douglas said...

Something about the science in the article bothers me. For instance: "Remember, the monkeys never saw the use of a tool in their lives,..."
Which was preceded by this: "Hauser has been working with a colony of free-ranging rhesus monkeys on an island off Puerto Rico for many years."

Now, let's assume the island has no resident humans, fine.
1)There are other animals that use tools. The monkeys could've seen them at work.
2)The researchers use tools all the time (ropes, seats, hell pencils even). I think it is unlikely the researchers could work without EVER having been seen by the monkeys.

The declaritive and definitive statement that the monkeys had NEVER seen a tool used is questionable science at best, it seems to me.

Then theres the Speech Recognition test of expectancy. I couldn't open the link from the article, but it seems a pretty thin means of determining disbelief/expectancy. A recoding goes from Dutch to Japanese and they pay attention? Changes in pattern get attention. Silence after prolonged continuous talking likely would've gotten a look too. Was the Dutch and Japanese spoken by the same person/voice? If not, were they just responding to a new individual's 'presence'?

This is the kind of science I question (and why one should be wary of making it one's religion).

At 1:12 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The study didn't really change anything for us, simply because it was just too sparse. They should have given the monkies the knife and the etc, and then tried and see what they would do after seeing the pictures.


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