General / Off-Topic The Odd Thread

I just came across this Instagram feed recently, animalsAndSynthesizers
Really worth watching a few, they’re very good and quite ... odd!

http://instagr.am/p/CDodGZHBagM/ Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/CDodGZHBagM/?igshid=1l0qh13rd0jdz
That video is flippin' amazing.

The mirror self recognition test is considered a way of determining whether the test subject (typically a human baby) has developed a sense of a self / an "I" / being a person. It is usually combined with adding a blue dot to the baby's forehead. Up until ~18 months the baby will normally behave like the cat here in the video. They seem to observe another baby behind a glass. After ~18 months however, they will recognize their reflection and immediately start trying to wipe off the blue dot.

In this video the cat is very curious about what it sees. Can you be curious without having some sort of internal voice inside your head going "What the flip is that?" when watching your own reflection for the first time, noticing the perfect sync of your own movement and the movement of the reflection? If that cat had seen another cat in the mirror, wouldn't it have reacted way more aggressively? Cats are mostly not very social creatures. Compared to a dog, a cat uses most of its life looking for food, potential ways of reproducing itself (finding mates), marking its territory by peeing etc. and defending its territory by fighting other cats entering its grounds.

This cat on the other hand acts nothing like that. Look at its face while it examines the reflection and tell me that this cat is nothing but a biological autonoma without consciousness and only acting upon reflexes. And if you believe that, is that also the case of humans then?

Personally I don't like cats very much and I eat meat (not cats though), but considering that animals like ants have shown capability to self recognize, we might want to revise our general understanding of how to treat the other species on the planet, unless we want to go down in history as being one of the Universe's most cruel creatures.

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That video is flippin' amazing.

The mirror self recognition test is considered a way of determining whether the test subject (typically a human baby) has developed a sense of a self / an "I" / being a person. It is usually combined with adding a blue dot to the baby's forehead. Up until ~18 months the baby will normally behave like the cat here in the video. They seem to observe another baby behind a glass. After ~18 months however, they will recognize their reflection and immediately start trying to wipe off the blue dot.

In this video the cat is very curious about what it sees. Can you be curious without having some sort of internal voice inside your head going "What the flip is that?" when watching your own reflection for the first time, noticing the perfect sync of your own movement and the movement of the reflection? If that cat had seen another cat in the mirror, wouldn't it have reacted way more aggressively? Cats are mostly not very social creatures. Compared to a dog, a cat uses most of its life looking for food, potential ways of reproducing itself (finding mates), marking its territory by peeing etc. and defending its territory by fighting other cats entering its grounds.

This cat on the other hand acts nothing like that. Look at its face while it examines the reflection and tell me that this cat is nothing but a biological autonoma without consciousness and only acting upon reflexes. And if you believe that, is that also the case of humans then?

Personally I don't like cats very much and I eat meat (not cats though), but considering that animals like ants have shown capability to self recognize, we might want to revise our general understanding of how to treat the other species on the planet, unless we want to go down in history as being one of the Universe's most cruel creatures.

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You sure it wasn’t just the synthesizer? ;-)
But yeah, you’re right about respecting other life.
Octopuses are another example of intelligence albeit different to our own.
 
You sure it wasn’t just the synthesizer? ;-)
But yeah, you’re right about respecting other life.
Octopuses are another example of intelligence albeit different to our own.
Not to spoil anything, but don't you think the synth was added in post? :p

Octopuses are really interesting when it comes to intelligence. We normally think that the reason humans developed the large brain we have, which is very unpractical in many ways, was that we needed it to become the social beings we are. Octopuses on the other hand are way less social than even cats. When two octopuses meet they normally fight until one is dead. Still, they are incredible intelligent being able to solve pretty complicated tasks, like unscrewing the lid of a jar from the inside. I know several humans that wouldn't be able to do that.

They even seem to have a separate "brain" for each arm. (Some) People have long dreamt about communicating with aliens ("two way SETI"). I would say that they could start by trying to communicate with octopuses, being one of the most "alien" species on Earth, without risking to invite a civilisation that was able to travel faster than light, and that would probably also have similarly advanced ways of enslaving us or just plain annihilate humanity.

Octopuses eyes btw. are very similar to the human eye, even though tracing DNA (way) back has shown that our lowest common ancestor was a (blind) snail.
 
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like ants have shown capability to self recognize, we might want to revise our general understanding of how to treat the other species on the planet, unless we want to go down in history as being one of the Universe's most cruel creatures.
Can't claim to know what might be out there in the universe, but it's a given that we are the most cruel creatures on this planet, both individually and as a species. Indeed, I think capacity for cruelty is probably a far better indicator of personhood than basic self-awareness. I guess from my perspective, it's the ability to make that choice and reflect on it that is the cut off; if one cannot engage in introspection, one is just a thing.
 
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