Sunday, August 13, 2006

Monkey content

Soon a project will be started in which Orang-utans in a wild park in the Netherlands will communicate with their mates in a recovery centre in Borneo (Indonesia) through internet. The primates are a threatened species. In an earlier experiment it was proven that the primates communicated with each other through mirrors. The primates offered each other a banana by pulling leverage, but they expected to get something back for this kindness.

In the internet project the monkeys living in a Dutch park can offer their counterparts living in a recovery centre in Indonesia a banana by pressing on a banana image on a touch screen. The objective of the project is twofold:
- it is therapy for the intelligent animals which are threatened with extinction by cutting rain forests, eating of bush meat and the rise of the palm oil plantations;
- The initiative will draw attention to the plight of the animals.

The project is a co-operation between a primate park in Apeldoorn in The Netherlands and a recovery centre on the island of Borneo in Indonesia. On both sides a broadband infrastructure has been laid and monkey proof computers are in production.

For intelligent primates the content of the project is very low. Just pressing on an image of a banana is a basic drill often used in education. Of course it will take some time for his fellow primate to understand that a friendly gesture requires a counter gesture, which eventually materialising in a real, not virtual banana.

It will be interesting to learn whether the primates will come beyond the one image exercise. If not there will never be a portfolio of monkey content.


Blog Posting Number: 473

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