Thursday, June 16, 2011

Game-Playing Chimps

Chimpanzees can learn to play video games!

Chimpanzees and Human Awareness

The significant dimension of this achievement is that the chimps can distinguish which game characters they control, suggesting that they have a "sense of self" similar to human beings.

It's already known that chimps, along with a few other animals, recognize themselves in mirrors. As more evidence accumulates that these apes share self-awareness with us, one can't help feeling increased uneasiness about keeping them in zoos and labs.

On the other hand, some critics of popular culture might say playing video games isn't necessarily a sign of advanced intelligence. :)

Which leads back to the classic SF question: How can we be sure we'll recognize intelligence when we meet it on another planet?

Margaret L. Carter
Carter's Crypt

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