Prashant's Weblog
Random Brain "Droppings" of yet another software engineer

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Is Dr. Dolittle phenomenon possible in real life??

Received the link to this video as a email forward. Trust me, I was completely floored by what I saw in the video. I am not sure if this a doctored video, but if we assume the other way then we do have lot to think about;

- Are animals intelligent to have a sense of shape and proportionality?
- Can animals develop the cognitive ability to visualize objects?
- If they do develop cognitive abilities to visualize objects, can it develop to such high order that they can see objects in 3D(how elephant actually looks) and then reduce it to 2D(on a drawing sheet)?
- It had the dexterity in its trunk to start from the point where it had stopped. Is such dexterity common among animals?
- If you see the final image, three legs are in the ground while the fourth is in air. This is how they walk in reality. How is it possible for a animal to self evaluate (how it walks) and then reproduce the same as a painting?
- At the end of the film you will see that the elephant re-traces all the lines in the picture which are not bold because of lack of ink in the brush while drawing those lines. This is two step process, first, realize that the line is not bold and second trace the same line once again. If you ask me this is simply amazing
- When it drew the flower, the leaves are placed in a symmetrical fashion. Now you need a sense of symmetry to accomplish that task. Do animals have that?
- Also the elephant did not overshoot the drawing page and it made sure it drew all the objects of the painting within the boundary of the paper canvas. This is another skill of very high order.

So after watching this video I wonder;

- Can non-humans be trained to develop skills and cognitive abilities which equate to so called "uniquely human" faculties like Language etc. in short, is "Dr. Dolittle " phenomenon possible in real life?
- Looking at it the other way, are there any aspects in the way humans communicate that makes conveying certain messages unfeasible but is possible to do so by the way other animals communicate?

I don't have the answers. But am sure seeking answers to these would be one really fascinating journey touching upon diverse fields like linguistics, biology, physical anthropology , sociology etc..

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