Teaching Crows to Contribute to Society.
Joshua Klein had an idea. It was an idea that could revolutionize the world, and, at the same time, revolutionize how we perceive one of the most maligned creatures inhabiting the skies: the corvid.
Corvids are known tool-users.
For centuries, crows and ravens have symbolized death, poverty, trickery, theft, and a million other negative things. In reality, corvids are extraordinarily intelligent, discerning creatures. Like other animals that man hates most, corvids do not simply survive alongside us; they thrive, even in areas that we devastate.
In this remarkable video, hacker and researcher Joshua Klein explains an idea he developed after a friend claimed that exterminating crows would make the world a better place. He designed a vending machine that could be worked by crows: in exchange for coins, the crows would get a peanut. Being corvids, the crows happily obliged – afterall, depositing a coin isn’t much work at all for a fat little nugget of protein, and corvids really like shiny things anyway.
What’s amazing is that Joshua’s vending machine took the crows through multiple stages of learning before the crows understood to pick up loose change in return for the peanuts. Joshua then postulates, if we can teach crows to pick up loose change, what else can we teach them to do?
At first, I admit, I was a little offput because the premise appeared to be “How can we make these animals useful to man so they’re worth keeping alive?” However, after watching the video, I think it’s a genius way to trick those in favor of extermination into thinking the creatures are working for us.
Not to mention the crows make out okay. In fact, in their incredibly advanced little brains, they’re probably already working out ways to get the vending machine to start giving them peanuts and the coins.
Posted on October 30, 2010, in Fauna and tagged adaptation, aves, bad rap, birds, corvids, crowbox, crows, culture, evolution, joshua klein, nature, ravens, survive, teaching, thrive, wildlife. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.