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A parrot has a question for humans (nautil.us)
185 points by dnetesn 64 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 72 comments



From Richard Stallman's Rider:

https://github.com/ddol/rre-rms/blob/master/rider.txt

>If you can find a host for me that has a friendly parrot, I will be very very glad. If you can find someone who has a friendly parrot I can visit with, that will be nice too.

>DON'T buy a parrot figuring that it will be a fun surprise for me. To acquire a parrot is a major decision: it is likely to outlive you. If you don't know how to treat the parrot, it could be emotionally scarred and spend many decades feeling frightened and unhappy. If you buy a captured wild parrot, you will promote a cruel and devastating practice, and the parrot will be emotionally scarred before you get it. Meeting that sad animal is not an agreeable surprise.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3159210

https://secure.mysociety.org/admin/lists/pipermail/developer...


I love birds. Volunteered at a wild bird rescue, wish I had 100 of them, love visiting any place with parrots when travelling.

But I would never buy a bird. Offering a better place for one who no longer has anyone to take care of it is great, but promoting breeding and sales of captive intelligent animals feels very wrong.


As a long time parrot owner, sadly I must agree with you. I devote about two hours a day to my parrot, and even at that he wants even more attention. Volunteering at a parrot rescue organization is probably the better alternative to owning a parrot.


This might be ignorant, but in this case would it be more humane to own two so they can entertain each other?


Depending on the bird this is often the recommended practice.


There is always the risk that they won't like each other.

Or that they will like each other too much, and thereby no longer have any need for the human interaction.


Yup, that happened to my family. Probably for the better... Except one of them flew off the window when cleaning the cage. Then the other inexplicably flew off a couple days later. I imagine I should thank my parents for sparing us understanding depression at such a young age.


You are not legally allowed to get only one in for example Sweden.


I have had multiple parrots over my life and the way i reason things out is very simple.

Parrots in the wild rarely live until they are 80 years old... More often than not in the wild they succumb early to disease, predators, weather, human threats (e.g. cars, and pollution), or starvation. If you could ask a parrot which life it would prefer, the answer is pretty much a no brainer... Otherwise, NO animal should lead a domesticated life pretty much IMO.

Birds in the wild do not have a clean living environment with plenty of toys to stimulate and placate their learning and need to destroy/chew things. They also don't live in climate controlled houses, and are not fed food on regular schedules. Pet parrots can regularly get acquainted with and get attention from other birds when owners board them in safe "bird friendly" boarding places, or when owners know other owners with birds and arrange for meet-ups. Parrots can also be taken outside on occasion to fly in safe locations where hawks won't swoop down and bite their heads off.

I do all the above, and provide my bird lots of attention, and it will be for as long as I physically can. By training my bird to be friendly with everyone I also am preparing him for an easy and desirable transition to someone else when I can no longer take care of him.

I want to destroy the myth that some present about lonely birds in "cages". Terrible owners are responsible for being terrible owners, not all bird owners.

With all that being said, it's up to each individual that takes in any pet to ensure that they can be cared for properly for life. I lost a dog prior to having my parrot after 16 years and it was like losing a child for me... There are no rules to having pets in my world, as long as a good plan and action for care, self education, and best intentions are involved, anyone can give their pet the best life possible. Parrots also make great pets if you have to soul to bear the noise, and their poop is much more manageable than most other domesticated animals. That being said, all of them are inherently wild animals, so don't expect them to always behave themselves and it will all be fine.


Years and years ago, there was an aol live chat with Koko, the gorilla who could sign. An early experimental cross species AMA.

The crowd mostly asked questions like "is there a god?"

The ape generally replied that she was bored and wanted food.

Gray parrots and corvids and dolphins and squids are exceptionally fascinating and worth studying. They aren't the same as the mythologized first contact people are hoping for. The precise expectations we have for such an exchange may say something about the Fermi paradox. Very similar intelligences can still be so different as to render communication, a real exchange of ideas, impossible.


On Koko... Koko's not all she's cracked up to be. Although there is a lot of non-scientific media that talks about her language abilities, there actually aren't very many scientific/peer reviewed articles on her, something that is the source of some contention.

With Koko/many other talking apes the handler does a LOT of interpretation for the sign language, to the point that it starts to feel a bit like reading tea leaves. With Koko, I often feel that the handler goes way too far in this. For example:

    Interviewer: Koko, do you feel love from the humans who have raised you and cared for you? Ely35150 asked that. We'll see what she says!

    Dr. Patterson: She's reading a birthday card.

    Koko: lips, apple give me

    Dr. Patterson: People give her her favorite foods.

    Koko: love, browse drink nipple

    Dr. Patterson: Browse is like... the little foods/snacks we give them.

    Koko: koko loves that nipple drink, go

    Dr. Patterson: She's kissing her alligator.

    Koko: lights off good

At one point Koko signs "nipple", which her handler interprets as "people" since they rhyme. Seeing as how Koko can't speak english, the idea that she understands english rhymes feels like more than a bit of a stretch to me.

Many other scientists have approached the ape speaking thing through a bit more of a skeptical lens, and produced (IMHO) much better work. The work on Nim Chimpsky in particular is interesting - they found that while Nim could associate words with concepts (forming phrases like "give food me eat"), anything resembling syntax, creating new phrases, or a sustained conversation was simply out of his reach.


I don't think the researcher means to imply Koko understands rhymes. Rather her hearing is not fine-tuned enough to hear the subtle difference between the sounds "nipple" and "people". So she uses them interchangeably.


how koto speaks reminds me of how I would speak to my cousins in Mandarin when my other cousins had taught me a bunch of words


What about new words? I remember reading an account online of someone who owned an African Grey parrot, who claimed that they called apples some word that was half banana, half cherry, because it looked like a combination of them (to the parrot).


Why would anyone expect an ape to be thinking about anything that's not food or, you know, ape-level? I mean come on, if you asked a random human you wouldn't get an insightful answer to "is there a God." If you wired up a fish to a computer so it could talk you would find out it was thinking about fish stuff.


Stanisław Lem's Sci-Fi focused on that concept a lot - that yes, we might find intelligent life in the universe, but it might be so completely different, so alien to us, that any form of communication is not as much impossible, but simply pointless.


Stanislaw Lem 1921-2006

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/weekly-standard/stanislaw...

> Lem's IQ, as he mentioned in passing in an autobiographical essay (it was measured when he was in high school), was above 180, but no one who read many of his books needed that datum to conclude that here was an unusually powerful and wide-ranging intelligence. The son of a physician, Lem was trained in the sciences. Biology was his field, but in his mid-twenties he became a research assistant at what he described as a "kind of clearinghouse for scientific literature" in many disciplines coming into Poland from around the world.

Examples, I think especially are

- "Eden" -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eden_%28Lem_novel%29

Not as extreme as the other two in highlighting the impossibility of meaningful contact. Lem becomes much more skeptical later in his career. Because they actually do make contact to one individual alien and communicate with it. In Fiasco there is some communication but it turn out to be all completely different than expected base don human assumptions (and it all ends in the humans destroying everything, of course all from good intentions). In "Solaris" there is no meaningful communication at all, one can't even say there are misunderstandings.

- "The Invincible" -- "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Invincible"

This is about non-biological self-replicating swarming alien micro-robotic life forms.

- "Solaris" -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solaris_%28novel%29

> Solaris chronicles the ultimate futility of attempted communications with the extraterrestrial life inhabiting a distant alien planet named Solaris. The planet is almost completely covered with an ocean of gel that is revealed to be a single, planet-encompassing organism. Terran scientists conclude it is a sentient being and attempt to communicate with it.

- "His Master's Voice" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/His_Master%27s_Voice_%28novel%...

> The novel is written as a first-person narrative, the memoir of a mathematician named Peter Hogarth, who becomes involved in a Pentagon-directed project (code-named "His Master's Voice", or HMV for short[2]) in the Nevada desert, where scientists are working to decode what seems to be a message from outer space (specifically, a neutrino signal from the Canis Minor constellation)

- "Fiasco" -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiasco_%28novel%29

> The book is a further elaboration of Lem's skepticism: in Lem's opinion, the difficulty in communication with alien civilizations is cultural disparity rather than spatial distance. The failure to communicate with an alien civilization is the main theme of the book.


I remembered one more, just a very short story, nothing as exciting as the books:

EDIT (Thanks @yeellow): Pilot Pirx => Ijon Tichy (how could I mix them up? Well, it's been two decades or so since I last read them)

- ~~Pilot Pirx~~ Ijon Tichy series: I remember a short story from the "Ijon Tichy" series of stories (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star_Diaries): It started with a microphone being lowered to onto the surface of an extremely hot planet (hotter than Venus) and a conversation was recorded, I think it was a student and a teacher, or it was between scholars of that alien race. Of course, already it is clear that this wasn't about any reality-based-fiction, the whole setup was just to show human thought in a mirror by letting the conversation come from aliens. In the conversation the rogue (student? scientist? I don't remember) proposes that there could be life on planets that are much colder than their own. This obviously preposterous idea (haha) is shot down by the other party in the conversation and exposed as silly nonsense contradicting science (of that hot world).

By the way, unrelated to the current subject but possibly one of the best stories ever written, is the Ijon Tichy story where he is alone in his space shit and a tiny meteor destroys the controls. It takes two people to repair the damage though, one inside, one outside the space ship - simultaneously. He knows about some time altering vortexes and manages to fiddle with the engines to fly through them. Each time he flies through one of those vortexes there are multiple versions of himself on the space ship, for example his Wednesday and his Saturday version. The story is about his difficulty recruiting himself for the repairs. It's hilarious! It starts with him waking in the middle of deep sleep because somebody who looks like him is shaking him. In his sleepy state he forgot all about the time vortexes and he thinks he's dreaming. So he refuses to move because "damage repaired during a dream is not really repaired, so I may as well just keep sleeping". The next day he has the exact opposite problem: He finds himself sleeping and tries to convince his previous-day version to do the repairs together, without success of course. That's just the start though, more and more versions of himself appear and disappear...

EDIT:

Found the time vortex story (in full): https://english.lem.pl/works/novels/the-star-diaries/154-the...


Lem's books are great but the hero you refer to is Ijon Tichy. Pilot Pirx is also Lem's character but stories on him are classical sf. Pirx is also a main character in Fiasco, Lem's last sf book.


> Ijon Tichy

So, if you write it Lastname Firstname, do you (almost) get Tachyon?

(I suspect Lem of always pulling legs ...)


As much as I would like this to be true, I think it's unlikely - Tachyons were first suggested in a scientific paper in 1967, while Tichy first appeared in Star Diaries in 1957, 10 years prior.


Wow, indeed. Lem is my favourite author and I read most of the books on him and his works and I am not sure I saw this. I will check if it is a well known fact but I doubt it is a coincidence.


This is something that the later books in the enders game series starts to look at, with the natives of a planet, their origins and even the Formica. They're not quite like the first two books in the series which is why I've seen a number of people not like them (if you want more of that, the bean side series is better) but they're really good still.


Thanks for your post. Reading about the Fermi paradox brightened my morning.


The author, Ted Chiang, recently released his book of short stories, Exhalation. This story is included in the book.

It's good, but not as good as his first book, imo, "Story of Your Life and Others". Story of Your Life was the inspiration for the movie "Arrival". That book was amazing.


The first story though, in Exhalation, "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate", is one of my favorites. It's also available standalone.


That is a really good story. I think I kind of downgraded "Exhalation" a bit because I'd read that story before so it wasn't new to me.


In any case, thanks for mentioning it. Thoroughly enjoyed Story of Your Life and Others and had no idea he released a second short story collection a few months ago.

It's going straight to the top of my to-read list.


Thanks for the recommendation. I am part way through Exhalation, and I just bought “Story of Your Life and Others”. I really liked the movie Arrival - it is one of the few movies that I have purchased so I can watch it whenever I want.

We really do live in a world with so much great entertainment in the forms of literary art and movies.


> If humans ever detect the Arecibo message being sent back to Earth, they will know someone is trying to get their attention.

Pretty much the plot of Contact (or at least its inciting incident). Both the book (by Carl Sagan) and the movie (with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey) are really good.


We often miss all the ways animals right here on Earth try to get our or each other's attention.

A truly alien species might communicate in ways we cannot even detect, or think of detecting, like say magnetic fields or some other medium that almost nothing on Earth uses.

Furthermore, even if they used the same "channels" and frequencies as us, their minds may just be too different. Even fundamental concepts like time and numbers or the notion of self may be perceived too differently by them for their languages to have any convenient analogues to ours.


Derrick Jensen touches on this in A Language Older Than Words with his experiences running a farm.


Dolphins seem particularly promising!


Yet, after nearly 5 decades of research we are still unable to crack their code. We do know however that some sequences they make do not seem to be random.Our problem is to penetrate the communication system that is not visually based,and is purely acoustical.

Shameless self-plug: we are working on it, combining citizen science and AI. Our plarform goes live in a few weeks.


I'll pull the plug; any suggestions for further reading?

> Our problem is to penetrate the communication system that is not visually based,and is purely acoustical.

Given our depth in knowledge in acoustics, I'm hoping you can expand a little on this


>any suggestions for further reading?

"Deep Thinkers" is a good recent book, you can check it out (https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/D/bo27...)

>Given our depth in knowledge in acoustics, I'm hoping you can expand a little on this

Our challenge is that we are visual species who are trying to understand “acoustic” species. (see ”What it is like to be a bat? https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/iatl/study/ugmodules/hum...) Yes, we can describe their vocalizations in terms of peak frequencies, RMS, center frequencies, duration, intensity, inter-click-intervals for burst pulses or sperm whale codas, but what does it all mean? The biggest struggle is not even that, but how to conceptualize their communication system. Naturally, being humans, we want it to have semantics, grammar, pragmatics and phonetics, and if it does not, they must be dumb (i.e. Chomsky’s argument). So we search for the smallest unit (a phoneme) and naturally we cannot find it.

Additionally, we know that dolphins have at least 2 sound generators (and possibly up to 4) that could work simultaneously and independently, potentially producing very complex utterances. On top of that, we have an animal that “sees” the world through sound, it must have at least some contribution to how the communication system is set up. The conventional belief as of now is that echolocation is separate from communication, although Dr. John Lilly was convinced that dolphins could use echolocation to describe things in their environment (to be clear, we have no scientific support for this hypothesis).

That is why describing dolphin whistles and other sounds terms of duration, peak frequencies, infliction points, etc., does not help at all, as it does not help us to understand how the communication system is set up and what this whistle actually means (and why is it used). The only positive thing in all that is that there must be some sort of communication system. If you ever encounter a pod (especially the offshore species) you would be amazed at their constant chat. So much energy is spent on all these utterances they must be important and must have at least some meaning.


Thank you for expanding, I appreciate the time it took and have already found further reading to be very interesting


I think we're hoping (even if it's a double edge sword) that the aliens are smart enough to communicate with us not the other way around. We have been unable to fully decipher the "language" of dogs beyond some body language. And they have lived with us for millennia.

Obligatory xkcd: https://xkcd.com/638/


I doubt many dog owners would agree with you that we have not deciphered the language of dogs. We viscerally understand how they communicate, it’s simply hard to systematically describe it.


> We viscerally understand

But that's a very superficial understanding of a language. Maybe we have different concepts of what understanding a language means.

Dogs are smart enough to grasp relatively advanced concepts, do you think you would understand the response if you asked "do you want food A, B, C, or D"? And I'm not talking about body language (them pointing at the thing) or training them to react in a specific way because that's actually you teaching them a language. Another example: listen to 2 dogs barking at each other. To what level can you understand what they are "saying"? Yes, you can say "aggressive" or "submissive". But is it fair to call that understanding the language? There has to be more to their language than just basic emotions.

Take this list of languages [0] (or any language that is completely foreign to you). If someone is speaking one of them to you and you can only guess things from body language or tone is it fair to say you understand that language?

The meaning of a lot of human languages or alphabets is completely lost even if they were conceived by humans almost identical to us biologically. Hoping to understand alien languages without the aliens helping us is a pipe dream.

[0] https://www.daytranslations.com/blog/2018/02/rare-languages-...


>The meaning of a lot of human languages or alphabets is completely lost even if they were conceived by humans almost identical to us biologically. Hoping to understand alien languages without the aliens helping us is a pipe dream.

There has been limited success with parts of Voynich Manuscript (some plants names?) and some interesting developments with rongorongo, but overall, yes, super hard. Hopeflly, Natural Language Processing might help, some promising results were reported for Linear B. (https://neurohive.io/en/news/researchers-use-machine-learnin...)


I'm not sure the manuscript really qualifies as a language but it does highlight the difficulties in understanding an artificial construct, coming from an intelligent mind.

We understand natural constructs because we kind of understand the natural laws that govern them. We're nowhere near understanding the laws that govern the intelligent, conscious mind. Even our own.

P.S. Good luck with your project. Sounds very interesting and right on the money for this conversation.


Thank you!


Parrots get the attention because they are the classic imitators of human voices, but among birds, corvids (crows and their relatives) are the ones that have been shown to have mammalian-level intelligence.


They are so smart that it seems rather unfair to term it "mammalian-level intelligence". Most mammals are not as smart as crows.


It is probably the result of some kind of cognitive bias, having heard similar things for a long time, but I have been captivated by crows ever since I moved to the bay from Austin. In Austin, the resident blackbirds (grackles) just seem like mean-looking pigeons. Here, the crows seem to have personalities, moods, just generally complicated internal lives.


They aren’t bad speakers either.

https://youtu.be/AfsnHVaScjg



Relevant - "My Reading Pets" is a facebook page I follow, a doctor of early childhood development (iirc) tried out teaching her bored cockatoo Ellie reading simple words to help occupy Ellie's mind -- fast-forward several years later and she's teaching several parrots to read and in the process convey some pretty complex internal concepts via word-cards. Not vocalization, and using predefined call-and-response (generally the birds are answering questions with a fixed set of answers), but I find the whole thing astounding and fascinating nonetheless.

https://www.facebook.com/myreadingpets/


Back in grad school, I used to TA for Dr. Mischel of Nim Chimpsky fame.

A lot of researchers badly wanted to prove language in chimps back in the 70's, but it all amounted to naught, and other than a few holdouts, the field moved on.

People got excited about animal communication, but confused that with language. Language has a syntax, such that one can utter a sentence you've never spoken before and you can understand a sentence you've never heard before. Language is impossible under conditioning-based learning, but most of the chimp "utterances" could still be explained by conditioning. E.g., chimp Washoe infamously signed "water" and "bird" when a swan happened to be nearby, but that could be explained with operant conditioning: she associated signing "water" and "bird" in the presence of waters and birds with getting treats.

Eventually, researchers started taking a sober look at the "corpuses" generated by animals. When cherry-picking individual phrases, things looked impressive; but when they really started to analyze these statistically as a whole, the results were unimpressive, closer to random utterings designed to elicit treats, rather than communication.


Speaking of dolphins (and whales for that matter), there is a reason why it has been so hard to not just "communicate" with them but to even understand the function and the meaning of a number of calls they make.It appears that it is very hard for a human mind to understand a consciousness so different from our own. We are visual species, and even though our language is acoustic, it reflects our nature as visual species. Dolphins' primary modality is sound, so if they have any communication system, it will reflect that. Will we be able to crack their code someday? Hopefully, the answer is yes.


We know a lot about the language of large ocean mammals but it's just not as one to one with how we would translate it. The ocean is basically a noisy internet with their calls like alien packets that are mixed with a complex natural langue. Elephants have a similar thing. They make long sub-bass vocalizations that they can feel for miles with their feet.

As far as I know, prarie dog [0] is the closest we've come to a rosetta stone for another species. We can translate things like "brown fox north" and such.

[0] https://www.npr.org/2011/01/20/132650631/new-language-discov...


>We know a lot about the language of large ocean mammals but it's just not as one to one with how we would translate it.

Well, not exactly.In fact, we still know surprisingly little. For the humpback song, one of the most studied topics up to date, there is still a major disagreement if it is a reproductive display or something else.Humpbacks make tons of other sounds as well, those have not been studied as much as their songs. For bottlenose dolphins, the most studied species, we sort of know the function of the signature whistles (again, not everyone agrees), but know very little about the function/meaning of other whistles and other sounds like burst pulses or LFNs.Echolocation has been studied a lot, still, we do not know if it is used in communication in any way.


Sorry, that was a bit unclear. I meant that we have studied a lot but that doesn't scratch the surface of whats there. So much distance, such a wide range of movement, and hidden social activity that while we can listen its hard to see the environmental context to decode it.

They can communicate with us pretty ok. Notorious acid head government contract grifter John Lilly's assistant [0] got a young male dolphin to screech count all the way up to six (i think) in english in exchange for erotic massage.

It's crazy to think about, but to have the sort of view of dolphins that we have of a prairie dog town we are gonna need some way better tools if it's even possible. If I could share a language with one or many dolphins I don't even know what I'd tell them that they'd care about.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Howe_Lovatt#Dolphinar...


Oh, yes, Dr. Lilly and his NASA funded study. All acid, sex and other things aside, some of the stuff he did was indeed interesting, if only to get to know dolphins in a way impossible in the wild. There was one NPR interview with Margaret some time ago, she mentioned that Peter (the dolphin she worked with) was absolutely captivated by her knees. He would echolocate on them and investigate them constantly. If you think about it, dolphins must know each other's anatomy pretty well due to their echolocation abilities. So a human knee (having no analog anywhere in a dolphin's body) was the constant focus of Peter's interest. But wild dolphins do not seem to be captivated by human knees, so this difference in their motivation is very interesting. In fact, the question about curiosity and motivation to communicate is a important one, even if we do a playback and use all correct sequences, if the dolphin is not motivated to reply in any way, the experiment will fail and we will never know why.


Nice, I read the whole thing before noticing that Ted Chiang wrote this. Off topic, but I have really been his and sci-fi from China.

I have owned a Meyers Parrot for over 15 years. We got him from a local breeder as a baby and hand fed him. I question the morality of owning such smart animals as pets, but that aside, he is a great pet. Parrots do require at least a few hours of interaction time a day from their owners. Right now mine is next to me beating up on his bell toy. He will only do this when someone is watching him. Anyway, don’t get a parrot unless you have a lot of free time.


I can't think of an interesting and important question one could ask a non-human, except (if it's an alien) "how to do cold fusion" or "how to live forever", ie specific technological stuff.

Really, what do we expect to hear from monkeys and dolphins deciphering their language? Give them a small talk on the current Bitcoin prices or ask what they think about the next elections? I suspect in the end it'll lead to something like "How are you? I'm fine!"

Maybe it's just me though.


You could ask them the same things you ask any human, but get radically different (and perhaps very interesting) answers.

You could look at their art, listen to their music, learn their philosophy - assuming they have any of that, and that it's comprehensible to us.


I would be unsurprised if some other species had oral histories. It seems that elephants and crows are able to communicate about specific locations and people while their referents aren't around.


Agree, new art, new music, new philosophy (I personally don't expect it to be much different from ours). But will it have any important effect on average human life ever?


FWIW, our estrangement from Nature is easy to overcome if you try.

Here's the beginning of the scientific basis for understanding e.g. what they do at Findhorn:

"What Bodies Think About: Bioelectric Computation Outside the Nervous System" https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18736698


You be good. I love you.


Just to be clear, he said that to whoever was putting him to bed each night. I worked in the Pepperberg lab as an undergrad back in the day, and he said that to me a hundred times too.


If I had billions I would retreat to an island somewhere and try to bring back the dinosaurs by breeding super ostriches or something like that.


Ostriches are dinosaurs. You don't need to do any special breeding on them, if that's the kind you're after.

Obligatory XKCD: https://www.xkcd.com/1211/


> bring back the dinosaurs

There are several movies about why this is a bad idea.


There are also several movies about faster-than-light spaceships which are crewed by humans even during combat. Movies should not be the basis for an argument.


I very much want to see a sci-fi where combat begins with the captain (aka the token human) saying, "Ship, you are weapons-free. Lethal force is authorized." Then their acceleration pod seals, and fills up with perfluorodecalin. The rest of the action is the ship AI trying to save itself, its crew, and the cargo.

If you have a FTL spaceship, the modal weapon will likely be FTL torpedoes, armed with thermonuclear warheads or better, and guided by kamikaze AI. Engagement distance will not be in visual range. Unguided weapons will miss, unless the targeting system can predict where the target will be when the weapon reaches it.

So at some level, it will be combat computers trying to "Iocaine Powder" each other, by predicting the other's offensive and defensive strategy. The AI that can be more unpredictable, while better predicting what the other AI will do, will win.


Then I suggest most of the Culture battles in Iain M Banks’ works. I believe one of the passages was along the lines of: “Are we winning?” “We won several minutes ago. You’ve been watching a slow motion replay since it started.”


I remember a book that went exactly like that back in the 80s. I just can't place what it was other than it was sci-fi of the variety that didn't take itself too seriously (maybe one of the Hobart Floyt and Alacrity Fitzhugh novels?).


Same for AI, but it's not stopping us so far


My plan would be to teach all the parrots to converse in English, just like Alex [1]. Then people would arrive lost at the island and the parrots could give them directions.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_%28parrot%29




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