Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Semantic Web, Parrots, and AI

Two different subjects today: I just added a blog entry on the semantic web on my AI blog and our pet parrot. One (possible) route to understanding how to do AI is to appreciate problem solving abilities in the natural world. Our young Meyers parrot is a good problem solver but it takes him a while. Earlier this morning, I was reading in bed and had fetched our parrot so he could run around like crazy on and under our bedspread - good for burning off energy. Our parrot wanted to get at some of my stuff on my night stand, but his way was blocked, except for a space between two water bottles which, try as he might he could not squeeze through and he could not move the water bottles. He spent about 2 minutes walking back and forth thinking about the sad situation he was confronted with when he suddenly lowered one wing, raised the other, moving his shoulders close together and then simply walked right through the "water bottle gap" :-)

Our small parrot must have some abstract world model of objects and his own body. Why and how he thought of raising one shoulder while lowering the other to compress the width of his shoulders is a mystery to me, but I believe that this was possibly an example of abstract thinking.

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