Saturday, February 24, 2007

Chimps With Spears? Just Don't Let Them Have PCs

Are chimps getting ready to take over the world? A report in the March 6 issue of Current Biology says that researchers in Senegal saw wild chimps biting the tips of sticks, then poking them into the holes of trees to jab small primates called "bush babies" and pull them out.

Chimps are pretty close to humans, genetically. They've already been taught a number of not-so-stupid human tricks, like recognizing colors and patterns, pointing to sequences of pictures to "talk," etc. Now they're figuring out spears on their own. What's next--knives? pistols? assault rifles? rocket-propelled grenades?

Here's a scarier scenario: Chimps using computers. There's always been that tired old saying from Philosophy 101 class, if you have an infinite number of monkeys sitting at an infinite number of typewriters (yeah, it's an old saying), eventually one of them will type up a Shakespeare play. Well, maybe the animal is really a chimp, you only need one of 'em, and the time is now.

Chimps are smarter than monkeys, and they know better than to write something with as little earning potential as a play; they've probably heard about how many unemployed playwrights there are. And no self-respecting 21st-century chimp would be caught dead using a typewriter.

No, what's scary is these hairy fellows finding PCs and the Internet. Before long they'll be mimicking human behavior and becoming bloggers, spammers, chat junkies, and online shoppers. In the digital age, the language problem is no big impediment to using the 'Net, because it's not like anyone online uses the King's English. How hard can it be for the average chimp to pound out stuff like LOL, BCNU, ROFLMAO, and I <3 Britney?

Like that famous New Yorker cartoon says, on the Internet, no one knows you're a dog. Or a chimp. Once our simian cousins start spamming and blogging and buying stuff online, the human race is going straight down the tubes. It won't be long before we're all dressed in loincloths and chains, and conversing with primates named Cornelius and Zira.

1 comment:

Mama Chaos said...

That is pretty scary. Our time is coming to an end, we've got some competition on the planet.