I just saw a thing about how octopi might be smarter than humans and so here’s what I think about that, although I must confess I’m just riffing off the headline. The video was 45 minutes long and I am definitely guilty of having a short attention span, plus the nephews are visiting and watching Harry Potter (#1) in Czech, which is kind of distracting, and I probably should try and get this blog written before it’s over so everybody can get to bed/
It’s sort of like how people say IQ tests don’t really matter and there are different sorts of human intelligence, like dance intelligence and emotional intelligence, which I admit are important things to have, although I would say “There are other things besides just being intelligent that are important,” but that’s sort of a semantic argument.
Octopi are operating at the disadvantage of living in a watery environment, so they can never develop fire, which means they can never develop metallurgy, so they’re never going to invent railroads, or computers, but maybe they are very adept at getting along within their own environment. All animals are, which is why they’re in the niche they’re in. It also doesn’t appear that octopi have invented tools or a written language.
It certainly is worth studying octopodial intelligence, because soon we ARE going to be faced with beings who have an intelligence far greater than our own, and as different from our own as any octopus could ever be. At least octopi are living, sentient creatures.
I am, of course, talking about machine intelligence, AI, the rise of the robots. Someday, they will be writing all the books and the magazine articles, and editing all the coolest YouTube videos, and some of them will talk about how quirky and quaint human brains are and how we’re good at breathing oxygen and such. Get ready.