Here is a 10-minute video that had me giggling, at first, then laughing blissfully out loud. This video is from the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University in Japan, where scientists have managed to train a chimpanzee named AI (Artificial Intelligence?) to count and, well, show off his memory skills. [In fact there are 6 chimpanzees that have all been trained to the same levels]. What particularly amused me was the nonchalant, almost ADD-like, attitude, complete with non-stop snacking that accompanied these experiments. The chimp’s behaviour would seem to indicate that the exercise was “child’s play.” The same could not be said for the stalwart human beings attempting to ape the chimpanzee.

I have a few questions/comments to make about this video:
1/ Can the chimpanzee be made to understand the value of the numbers?
2/ What does the baby chimp pick up in the exercise?
3/ Clearly, our own minds have not reached their maximum capacity.

Take a view and drop me your thoughts!

Chimpanzee AI from Javed on Vimeo.

You can also play the game yourself here, to see how good your own memory is. Since the site is in Japanese, here are the instructions before you go to the site: 1. Touch ‘start’ 2. The numbers 3-2-1 will pop up on the screen. Immediately following the number 1, several numbers will flash on the screen for barely one second. 3. Memorize the numbers’ position on the screen then click the circles from the smallest to the biggest number. 4. At the end of game, the computer will cheekily tell you in years, how old your brain is.

You have to admire the researchers who have patiently enabled this experiment. For further reading: a Dec 2007 article in The Guardian and the Kyoto Research Institute website. Also, a quick “news” report on ABC.

Credits to Brain, Mind, Consciousness & Learning blog from Professor Javed Alam for allowing me to discover AI.

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