I’ve always had a great admiration for crows. While other animals retreat from society, or scuttle around at night, crows embrace it and take an interest in finding ways to make the system work for them. I’ve witnessed them just down the street from my home using cars to crack walnuts. Most of the ways they have adapted society to their needs weren’t taught to them by people, they figured it out and taught their friends.
Joshua Klein has shown himself to be smarter than the average crow, and if this works, the average person, by taking things one step further. He designed a vending machine for crows. They put in a coin, it spits out a peanut. He calls it mutually beneficial synanthropy. In the video (another great TED Talk) Klein explains how the system trains the crows. I don’t think this will be necessary. Once the first few learn how to use it, the whole continent will know in short order. Sure, it starts with picking up loose change they find lying around, but pretty soon you have murders of crows mugging people in dark alleys for their change so they can get their peanut fix.
The crazy thing about crows is they are smart enough not only to figure out how this works, but also to teach their friends. They are natural pack rats and are attracted to coins anyway. There are a lot of crows in the world, and a lot of loose change. Klein professes an interest in advancing the project to teach crows how to pick up trash or other beneficial tasks, but I’m still back at the vending machine concept. The idea really is brilliant. I wonder what else we could teach them to do?
Yessss….everything will go according to plan…*cackle*