Random reflections – May 4 2023

This snippet is from a recent Adam Grant ReThinking podcast – What animal intelligence reveals about human stupidity – with Justin Gregg. Gregg is an animal cognition expert and science writer.

It struck me, given all of the current discussions around characterizing AI and general intelligence. The whole podcast is worth a listen on that issue alone.

Here’s the snippet. [Emphasis is mine]

Adam Grant:
There’s this, this question that people love to ask around the interface of human and animal cognition, which is, what is it that makes us uniquely human? And I have seen so many hypotheses thrown out and then potentially falsified, you know, from language to anticipating the future, to creativity, to culture, to the ability to tell stories and make up fiction. What is the one attribute that you think makes us most uniquely human?

Justin Gregg:
Our interest in the thoughts of others. I would say that’s it. ‘Cause that leads to all the rest.

Adam Grant:

Justin Gregg:
Yeah, like my cat interacts with me every day, but probably doesn’t care what I think or believe. It can get everything it needs just by watching my behavior and predicting what’s next. But humans don’t do that. We’re “I wanna know what you think. I want to ‘cause that helps me interact with you.” That’s where everything else springs from in our culture, in our, in our intelligence.

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