Christian Long

Joshua Klein: The Intelligence of Crows

In TED Talks on May 22, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Reflection by BENEDICT K.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Joshua Klein:  The Intelligence of Crows

Klein’s talk about how he found that crows are extremely intelligent is in itself very intriguing. The fact that they will adapt to their environment at a ridiculous speed, something we normally assume to be exclusive to us, human, is interesting and, to some extent, freaky. But what was most remarkable about his talk to me was the proposition of domesticating crows, and to get them to do something that is actually useful to us. Most often humans simply look at their environment and react in a way that assesses what may be counterproductive to their needs and then simply gets rid of those elements, or they look at what they want and take it regardless of what the response of the ecosystem may be.

Humanity domesticated dogs long before we ever thought about creating something like a bulldozer, and in many ways domestication was much more beneficial to us. Instead of fighting the crows, attempting to kill, to exterminate them, we may just as well try to train them for our needs. Instead of simply killing everything in our path we could try to live with some of the life that isn’t us. Yes, this may seem like a sort of a hippie article, but in reality i don’t think humanity can afford to go about their advancement in the way it is doing right now much longer.

Eventually all the forests will be gone, all the seas overfished and the atmosphere so loaded with CO2 that whether you think that global warming exists, you will be uncomfortable with how much of it you are breathing. Humanity cannot afford to keep burning fuel as quickly as it is right now, or it will simply run out eventually, and lets face it, large parts of american culture will break down without the unlimited access to gas that currently exists (if you are still under the impression that 4$ for a gallon of gas is a lot, good luck).

So while domesticating crows may only be a small step, every small step is bette than none. Having the look for spare change and then donate the found money to charity, or having them clean areas without having to use machinery may not seem huge, but eventually it will add up to something. Maybe once humanity realizes that it is neither important in the grand scheme of things, nor that it s alone on this planet, it can stop being the idiot that decides to run against a wall and start to accept the wall and live with it.


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