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Baboons Learn To Identify Words

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the didn't-i-just-see-this-movie dept.

Science 111

thomst writes "Seth Borenstein of the AP reports on a story in the April 13 edition of Science (abstract here, full article paywalled) about a study of baboons at Aix-Marseille University in France that demonstrates the primates are capable of distinguishing between short, but real English words and gibberish letter combinations of similar length with an average of 75% accuracy over the course of 300,000 trials. One particularly talented subject named Dan, a 4-year-old baboon, is capable of 80% accuracy. The study's lead scientist, Jonathan Grainger, explains that a simple change in the study's methodology — allowing the subjects to work the training machine at times of their own choosing, rather than on a schedule determined by the researchers, made all the difference. When they are shown a sequence of letters, the subjects must choose between pushing a blue 'button' on a touchscreen (for a nonsense combination), or a green one (for an actual word). If they choose correctly, they get a food reward. Borenstein writes, 'The key is that these animals not only learned by trial and error which letter combinations were correct, but they also noticed which letters tend to go together to form real words, such as SH but not FX, said Grainger. So even when new words were sprung on them, they did a better job at figuring out which were real. Grainger said a pre-existing capacity in the brain may allow them to recognize patterns and objects, and perhaps that's how we humans also first learn to read.'"

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Gentlemen, I think we have our new Congress (5, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672441)

As long as no one teaches them the term "Corporate Whore," I think we'd be better off than with what we've got.

Bobo no accept campaign contribution from Exxon. Bobo represent people.

Re:Gentlemen, I think we have our new Congress (0)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672527)

It would be nice if politicians could also be taught to recognize words instead of randomly using them [politico.com] to attack the opposition.

Re:Gentlemen, I think we have our new Congress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39672615)

So no campaign contributions... how about unlimited banans, Mr. Congressbaboon?

Re:Gentlemen, I think we have our new Congress (3, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672661)

Bobo tempted. But Bobo still no support SOPA.

Re:Gentlemen, I think we have our new Congress (3, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672687)

As long as no one teaches them the term "Corporate Whore," I think we'd be better off than with what we've got.

Bobo no accept campaign contribution from Exxon. Bobo represent people.

Exxon? That doesn't look like a real word...

Re:Gentlemen, I think we have our new Congress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39675075)

Fair enough, They did better than the average A merican did at recognising 'English' but how on earth did a French team manage to get funding for this and not use French?

Re:Gentlemen, I think we have our new Congress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39675503)

Because baboon was just code for 'American Tourist' and 'Dan' was just the nickname for 'Daniel' a 40 year old inbred white male from (insert southern state here). They just dropped the 0 from his age and shortened it to 'Dan' to make him sound like a test subject. Like all Americans he can be bribed with a shiny machine that will give him food in exchange for giving people the answer they want. :)

Re:Gentlemen, I think we have our new Congress (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39675309)

Baboon food is cheap. I think they might be easily bribed.

On the plus side, any laws they pass would likely be more intelligible.

They did a study at NASA? (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672455)

I was wondering why all those screens were set up.

In wonder if it would be considered cruel... (4, Funny)

srussia (884021) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672485)

to get those baboons to edit /.

Re:In wonder if it would be considered cruel... (2)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672665)

In wonder if it would be considered cruel...

In short, they understand language, and they know how to speek it. They just act as if they don't, because if they reveal it, then humans are going to put them to labor immediately.

Re:In wonder if it would be considered cruel... (1)

sackbut (1922510) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672869)

In wonder if it would be considered cruel...

In short, they understand language, and they know how to speek it. They just act as if they don't, because if they reveal it, then humans are going to put them to labor immediately.

But perhaps they know how to use a spell checker...

Re:In wonder if it would be considered cruel... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673681)

Well, that puts them at least one step ahead of the niggers. Who knows? Maybe we'll have a baboon president some day!

What makes this hard to believe: (2)

fredrated (639554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672533)

The French were using english words?

Re:What makes this hard to believe: (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672595)

uh yes. they have language police, which means they don't get new words, and have to borrow from other languages a lot. for instance, there's no french word for webpage.

Re:What makes this hard to believe: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39672677)

there's no french word for webpage

Page internet ?

Re:What makes this hard to believe: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673045)

Better yet, "page web" :)

Re:What makes this hard to believe: (1)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39676097)

sucer le temps.

Re:What makes this hard to believe: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39676115)

Once again Monsieur le Docteur, you ahv deefeeted oss wiz your unnerveeng mastery of Franglais!

Re:What makes this hard to believe: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39672893)

Not totally true, but I guess the chose english because this language has less combination of letters than french. For example, "eau", "au", and "o" are all pronounced alike. English has alot less of these cases.

Re:What makes this hard to believe: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39674599)

They chose English because they wanted to see if they could become an American politician

Re:What makes this hard to believe: (0)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673091)

French vocabulary stopped after they developed the word "abandonner"

Re:What makes this hard to believe: (4, Funny)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672601)

They had to because french words are indistinguishable from gibberish.
(I just realised that indistinguishable is probably responsible for a large number of monkey failures.)

Re:What makes this hard to believe: (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672897)

That's why they used SHORT words, of course!

Re:What makes this hard to believe: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673231)

They had to because french words are indistinguishable from gibberish.
(I just realised that indistinguishable is probably responsible for a large number of monkey failures.)

And indistinguishable came to the English language by way of Middle French.

Coincidence? Or cheese-eating surrender baboon conspiracy?!

Re:What makes this hard to believe: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39674469)

"The French were using english words?"
That makes the baboons French; they understand the language but refuse to speak it.

Re:What makes this hard to believe: (1)

thomst (1640045) | more than 2 years ago | (#39675623)

fredrated demanded:

The French were using english words?

OP here. If you read Borenstein's AP article [yahoo.com] , you'd know that the French researchers chose to use English words, because, in the words of Jonathan Grainger, the lead researcher, "English is the international language of science."

Grainger did not express and opinion on whether that rationale makes sense to the baboons.

From TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39677995)

From TFA:

Even though the experiments were done in France, the researchers used English words because it is the language of science, Grainger said.

That is either a sarcastic pun, or the most ethnicist bullshit I've heard in decades.

What does this mean for animal testing? (4, Insightful)

assertation (1255714) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672539)

If baboons can learn to recognize words is it ethical to use them in medical testing? Some retarded human beings can't do that much.

Re:What does this mean for animal testing? (1)

jesseck (942036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672645)

I don't think this means much for that... maybe we can find out if putting a dozen warnings on a container's label has any effect on what happens to that container' contents. Besides, my dog recognizes commands from me, and my 3 year old tests nail polish on his claws. Perfectly ethical.

Re:What does this mean for animal testing? (1)

assertation (1255714) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672739)

Dogs, like your dog, are also experimented on. Sometimes horrifically and sometimes for frivolous reasons. The nail polish your 3 year old puts on his claws was already tested on other animals.

Re:What does this mean for animal testing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673099)

Get back to us on your comparison when your kid starts spraying oven cleaner in your dog's eyes.

Re:What does this mean for animal testing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39672811)

Some slashdotters can't do that much. Fixed that for you.

Re:What does this mean for animal testing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673453)

It is ethical as long as they read disclaimer and sign a waiver!

Re:What does this mean for animal testing? (3, Insightful)

Empiric (675968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673479)

I'd ask it the other way around.

If baboons can learn to recognize words, is it not ethical to use humans in medical testing?

Then the bigger question: "Why?"

Re:What does this mean for animal testing? (2)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673493)

I think you should read David Brin's Uplift series. It studies the ramifications of pre-sapience vs sapience.

Personally, I think we should be working to boost the brain power of species like baboons and dolphins. The odds of an alien sapient species arriving on our planet in my lifetime are virtually nil. If we have any chance of conversing with a different sapient species in the short term, it's with a species we uplift from our planet's native stock. And personally I'd love to be alive for the first conversation we as humans have with another species as equals.

Re:What does this mean for animal testing? (2)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673643)

Although they may eventually develop differently, since the only template we have for sapience is our own, so I'm not sure how much we learn about it by just applying it to other species.

Personally, I think there's already too many people who think they are the center of the universe, we don't need egotistical animals as well.

Re:What does this mean for animal testing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39681869)

What happens when we end up uplifting Krogan?

Re:What does this mean for animal testing? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673945)

Jerry Was a Man [wikipedia.org] .

I don't think intelligence counts nearly as much as the ability to suffer, but a baboon is likely to suffer far more in the wild than in a researcher's lab. And despite Heinlein's short story's title, baboons aren't human.

Re:What does this mean for animal testing? (2)

assertation (1255714) | more than 2 years ago | (#39677489)

I don't think intelligence counts nearly as much as the ability to suffer, but a baboon is likely to suffer far more in the wild than in a researcher's lab.

I don't know if I would agree with that. A baboon in the wild might go hungry from time to time before it has one short, but intense episode of suffering before death: getting caught by a predator. Before that it is living free and to its instincts.

In a research lab, a baboon would live in a cage, with its freedom of movement restricted. Its death wouldn't be quick and intense. It might be made sick and kept alive, suffering for a long time while it was being studied.

Re:What does this mean for animal testing? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39674027)

Yes, but we have to ask them for their consent.
  "If you sign that paper you can get this banana! Now that's a good monkey!"

Re:What does this mean for animal testing? (1)

fluffythedestroyer (2586259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39677197)

This is not meant to be mean or flame but I guess as long as baboons can't defend themselves properly, I think they consider it ethical. lets face it, if they can defend themselves and understand language I believe they should be equal to us ...in some way or part. I'm not an expert on this but considering them just pure material for experiments at this point should be non ethical if you ask me.

interesting (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672553)

I wonder if this would work with other writing systems. Could they learn to tell real Chinese characters from random fake ones, for example?

Re:interesting (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672953)

That's tricky for most Chinese too, especially if e.g. normal components are used to create a fake. On top of that, many users of the various Chinese dialects create their own characters to write down words unique for their dialect, if they don't want to use the formal written form. And I don't think there are any Chinese that know all existing characters. They know a subset only (you need to know something like 5,000 characters for reading the newspaper; I have seen estimates of 80,000 existing characters).

We already know (5, Funny)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672559)

this is going to end with Charlton Heston on a beach cursing at the Statue of Liberty.

I for one... (4, Funny)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672585)

... welcome our new literate simian overlords.

Re:I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39676837)

Beat me to it .. although I would have been let down if this joke wasn't made here on slashdot ...

What I take (4, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672627)

"The study's lead scientist, Jonathan Grainger, explains that a simple change in the study's methodology — allowing the subjects to work the training machine at times of their own choosing, rather than on a schedule determined by the researchers, made all the difference."

What I take from this is that when I was in high school, I should have been able to get up at noon and go to school then if I wanted to. Guarantee I would have learned more in calculus than having it at 7:30am.

Re:What I take (3, Interesting)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673741)

This approach of meeting the student's needs is central to Paulo Freire's radical pedagogy. Trying to stuff people full of facts doesn't really work very well and is frustrating to both the teacher and the student. Create a space where people learn to do things because they have a curiosity or a need for them and have the tools, time, and space to work and they will teach themselves and each other.

I found this excerpt from a book on the topic interesting: http://www.scribd.com/doc/85646832/Education-and-Capitalism-Excerpt [scribd.com]

Re:What I take (1)

fluffythedestroyer (2586259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39677233)

students should get this article and tell that to their teacher. I would pay to see his face when I tell him.. "see that study it proves if I wake up and be ready here at noon then I will learn more. "

And the first words they spoke were (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39672629)

"The refs are calling too many penalties."

Make all food go through to those machines.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39672637)

and observe how the leader of the horde stops being the strongest one and becomes the smartest one.

Yeah, sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39675475)

Cause the strong will just stop exploiting he weak, acknowledging their intellectual superiority and bowing their own heads down in shame in the face of their own intellectual inadequacy.

Oh, no... Wait. They could also just take what they want by force. Being stronger and all that shit.

Testing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39672639)

sqiez gshj mmwu afxaka

stop it (3, Funny)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672671)

stop teaching useful skills to animals with big pointy teeth please

teach them to laugh at youtube or something

Re:stop it (2)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673381)

Come on, they are pushing colored buttons on a touchscreen. Given the amount of real work that people do on iPads, I say it's a pretty harmless activity.

Don't teach 'em the command line, or they will pwn us in half a generation.

Re:stop it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673833)

Au contraire, how else will we be able to develop the wild baboon market?

Imagine the profitability once they can buy guns and land mines and other tools of civilization.

It's uplifting!

I see (1)

DaKong (150846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39676955)

I see you've met my wife.

Really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39672731)

As much as I dislike politics, we should not refer to Republicans as "baboons";
it's just the way I roll...

Re:Really... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39672919)

You don't call Republicans Baboons and I'll not call Obama a Chimpanzee.

I'm more interested in this part: (2)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672767)

"allowing the subjects to work the training machine at times of their own choosing, rather than on a schedule determined by the researchers, made all the difference."

This is directly applicable to humans as well, and probably deserves more research.

Recognizing patterns (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672773)

Grainger said a pre-existing capacity in the brain may allow them to recognize patterns and objects

That reminds me of a column [scientificamerican.com] I read a while ago suggesting exactly that, and offering an evolutionary basis for it, along with an explanation for conspiracy theories. I guess this means that literacy begets superstition?

And in news from the baboon community: (1)

Dins (2538550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672825)

"Researchers make great strides in understanding the means by which these rather primitive humans use to communicate."

Good news (0)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672831)

If Baboons can read and learn, there's hope yet for climate deniers, creationists and possibly even most of the Republican party.

Re:Good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673275)

Way to perpetuate the stereotype of Slashdotters being arrogant, conceded, clueless, ignorant, mother's basement dwelling mouth breathers.

Now you run off and turn on the T.V. Barney is starting any minute. And remember, Barney is the only one who loves you.

Re:Good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39677721)

We concede NOTHING!

And refuse to abide by your self-inhabited stereotype.

Re:Good news (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39676005)

Optimist.

Re:Good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39679101)

Sadly there isnt they arent descended from apes, They were designed that way.

Quick! (1)

Dannon (142147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39672875)

Someone get an infinite number of these word-recognizing baboons, and an infinite number of typewriters!

Done (1)

Saija (1114681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673017)

By Mr Burns [extremetech.com]

When humans learned to read (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39672983)

" ... perhaps that's how we humans also first learn to read."

We didn't learn how to write until much later.

So what? (0)

mveloso (325617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673021)

So basically baboons are worse at recognizing words than dogs and babies? Why is this news?

Pigs can do this too, if you believe farmers.

What this paper seems to say is that if you spend lots of money and time you can get baboons to do stuff that's marginally interesting.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39674053)

Absolutely. Why do research to, you know, learn things, unless you already know those things will be valuable?

Really mods, why isn't parent modded troll?

Re:So what? (1)

mveloso (325617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39674677)

Baboons can recognize drawn shapes. Oh boy. Next thing they'll show that baboons can't drive cars. Oh boy. Soon they'll show that, after 50,000 years of existence baboons have the cognitive skills of an 8-month old. Great.

Here's what I would love to see next (2)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673073)

First, I would want to start with animals of even higher (subjective, to me) intelligence -- crows, african grey parrots, octopui, squid, elephants, bees, maybe domestic dogs and cats -- and then perform similar experimentation with all forms of human language: gesture (sign) language, written language and especially spoken language. I would especially like to do a double-blinded study with safely-administered psychedelics. We already know that psychedelics have a large effect on the language center of the human mind, so it would be natural for a similar effect to be present upon other animals. Most of those animals already have proven to have communication mechanisms and tool-using capabilities that are non-trivial, and so I feel they already have a similar language capability to humans. Those could be even potentiated through the use of thought-enhancing drugs.

Re:Here's what I would love to see next (1)

ZaskarX (1314327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39677009)

You mean you've never gotten stoned and talked to your dog? Try it! I promise he will have some very interesting things to say.

Re:Here's what I would love to see next (1)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679513)

I'm more talking about getting your dog stoned... Granted, I don't have a dog, but my friend's dog stoned turns into a cuddle-monster. She's normally a very sweet and talkative dog, one of relatively high intellect from my own life's experience with dogs. But she was pretty quiet after eating a special cookie, not her usual talkative self!

Revolutionary! (1)

DaneM (810927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673139)

The Commission for Shakespearean Literature thanks Aix-Marseille University for its contribution towards re-creating some of Shakespeare's lost works. We look forward to your effort in producing a line of typographical input devices, such as would be more ergonomically suitable for this work.

Please accept this anti-lice shampoo as a token of our gratitude.

Matthew Broderick and the chick from Mad About You (1)

Norwell Bob (982405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673165)

That is all.

75% higher than the average South Carolinian! (1)

hackula (2596247) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673167)

We should use this teaching method in the Palmetto State. I can imagine a day where our literacy rate is nearly as high as our unemployment rate!

Baboon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673197)

Thats great news for the republican party. The pool of GOP candidates will now be less embarrasing.

Better than my 4-year old (1)

tobiah (308208) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673251)

She's at something like 5% accuracy. But what she reads to me is pretty damn funny.

My dog could do better! (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673273)

No, really! She could.

Sentences? (1)

bacon.frankfurter (2584789) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673411)

Can they learn sign language like Gorillas, and communicate with sentence structure to convey an understanding of more abstract concepts like the passage of time? It seems like that could be a possibility, since sentence structure is kind of an extrapolation of spelling.

Birds (mostly I'm thinking of parrots) are known to develop large vocabularies, and gain a sense of context to the noises they make, as an exchange of information regarding their own situational awareness. Understanding noises and even words, and discerning their meanings relative to context is a task that many animals are capable of. Beyond mere habituation through operant conditioning, we have seen Dolphins, Dogs, Pigs, Horses, Elephants and all the Great Apes perform similar tasks through vocalization. But literacy and text is a pretty interesting twist for baboons.

Re:Sentences? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673835)

Can they learn sign language like Gorillas, and communicate with sentence structure to convey an understanding of more abstract concepts like the passage of time? It seems like that could be a possibility, since sentence structure is kind of an extrapolation of spelling.

Birds (mostly I'm thinking of parrots) are known to develop large vocabularies, and gain a sense of context to the noises they make, as an exchange of information regarding their own situational awareness. Understanding noises and even words, and discerning their meanings relative to context is a task that many animals are capable of. Beyond mere habituation through operant conditioning, we have seen Dolphins, Dogs, Pigs, Horses, Elephants and all the Great Apes perform similar tasks through vocalization. But literacy and text is a pretty interesting twist for baboons.

Most, if not all of the animals you mention have language they use. That isn't doubted. The question is can they be taught a language that we, human beings, understand?

Welsh (1)

Animal Farm Pig (1600047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673419)

Mae'n dda nad oeddent yn defnyddio'r Gymraeg.

Re:Welsh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673659)

If I'm understanding this study correctly, 25% of baboons can understand that.

I can't, however, so I plugged it into Google and it said "Did you mean: Mae'n dda nad oedd yn defnyddio'r Gymraeg."

Well, DID YOU?

Why? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673571)

> Baboons Learn To Identify Words

Still Won't Read Words Before Voting On Them

Bada-bing!

That's racist! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673585)

Baboons? I think they prefer to be called 'African Americans' you racist scum.

Identifying words does not mean what most think (3, Informative)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673785)

Words are made up of letters. Letters are specific shapes. So words are basically patterns of shapes. The baboons are able to identify specific patterns of shapes 75% of the time. That should come as no surprise, because in their natural environment, they must also be able to identify specific patterns of shapes to survive. Teaching them new patterns, while interesting, is just expanding on what they already do in nature.

It does not mean, however, they can distinguish one word from another, such as dog and cat, although I am sure they can be trained to do that. Nor does it mean that they can interpret the pattern d o g or the pattern c a t to mean a dog or a cat, although, again, I'm sure they can be trained to do that. The real question, as it relates to reading, is can they assimilate what they are seeing. If not, they aren't actually reading.

While driving a car and stopping because you see a big octagon shaped sign is not the same as reading the word "STOP" on it, even though both give the same desired outcome.

Re:Identifying words does not mean what most think (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39674057)

Pattern recognition is a very important part of intelligence.

Re:Identifying words does not mean what most think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39675345)

But TFS claims that they are capable of distinguishing words from non-words, not only probable from improbable letter combinations. A model that is based on combinations of shapes alone can't do that. Of course the most probable interpretation is that they wouldn't pass the wug test, and that this is just another Slashdot summary.

Re:Identifying words does not mean what most think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39676319)

I recall that all my early reading development classes revolved around learning to "sound out" letters to try to pronounce and therefore understand the meaning of the written word. This is an entirely different method. The only pattern recognition (at first) is to recognize what all A-Z letters look like and associate sounds with them. It takes a further comprehension leap to put those sounds together to make a recognized vocal pattern. This is a big difference between what the baboons are doing.

Later, our brains seem to memorize word patterns. taht is why we can raed wrods taht are jmulbed wtihuot too mcuh truolbe.

Its coming (1)

INeededALogin (771371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39675663)

Lets just go ahead and send a cowboy into space.

Then we can get our "Get your hands off me you damn dirty ape"!

Baboons to be given own talk radio program... (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39675975)

Oh wait. That's already happened.

so for Hamlet (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | more than 2 years ago | (#39676911)

I guess you wouldn't need an infinite number of monkeys after all.

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39677395)

Perhaps there is hope for occupiers, people under 30 who were public school brain washed, Obama voters, people who whore global warming, basically any communist.

Anyone noted KOKO "the talking gorilla"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39678975)

She has 1000's of words down in "sign language" (and SPOKEN ENGLISH too)

Heck - they even gave her a pet kitten she named "ALL BALL"!

(She loved it - were I to guess her thinking? It's probably "ALL MY JOY/FUN" etc.-et al, because she plays with a ball there too iirc).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koko_(gorilla) [wikipedia.org]

* Human people are SO arrogant @ times, & when I look around me the past few years now? We're the STUPID ones!

I've stated this MANY times online & in my life in fact: "DOGS ARE BETTER PEOPLE THAN PEOPLE!"

(Not that humanity's "all bad" - we're great too, but deceits & grubbing for money & power in a world of limited resources DEFINITELY brings out 'the worst' in us!)

APK

P.S.=> For instance? BOTH of my cats FULLY understand these phrases in less than 10 months of life:

1.) FOOD (& variations like Fish, Beef, Chicken, Dry Food (vs. "tasty food" in cans, lol - yes folks: "Discerning cats DO taste a difference!")

2.) SLEEP

3.) SHOW ME (this one's amazing - 1 of them, super-smart for a cat, will LITERALLY show me things she wants by walking to them, & "glaring" forcefully @ them)

4.) GOOD GIRLS

5.) OUTSIDE

6.) INSIDE

7.) WARM

8.) COLD

9.) SHITTY (meaning raining outside)

10.) "KITTY LOGS" (lol, for their poop in the litterbox)

& more...

And, they really DO understand them, & they're only cats... & they pick up on more each week! apk

This is astonishing news. (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 2 years ago | (#39681083)

Frogs are giving tests to baboons.
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