On Jan 6, 1995, McArthur Wheeler boldly robbed two banks in broad daylight with no disguise. According to an article in a local newspaper, “At 5 feet 6 inches and about 270 pounds, bank robbery suspect McArthur Wheeler isn’t the type of person who fades into the woodwork.” He made no attempts to hide his identity and even looked directly into the security camera and smiled. By 11:00 at night, his picture was all over the news, leading an informant to identify Wheeler to the police. Within an hour, he was in jail. As he was being arrested, the shocked Wheeler said, “But I wore the juice!”
Birds aren’t usually the first animal that people think about when they think about smart animals. In English, calling someone birdbrained means that they are stupid. And saying something is ‘for the birds’ means that it’s trivial or worthless. However, these expressions couldn’t be more off base. Some birds, particularly crows, can be amazingly smart. In fact, their problem-solving abilities are as good as those of a seven-year-old child.
How well do you remember yesterday? Do you remember what you wore, what you ate, or what you watched on television? If you’re like most people, you do. But you probably don’t remember what you wore, ate or watched on TV on the third Wednesday of January, six years ago. One woman can.
A famous book from the 70s called The Secret Life of Plants says that plants are conscious and even have a preference for music. In one research study, plants exposed to Mozart were healthier and grew faster than plants exposed to Jimi Hendrix. Some say these studies that claim plants have a taste for music are full of holes. But there is growing research on plant intelligence and plant communication.
What does it mean to be intelligent? Have you ever heard someone say, “What an intelligent guy!” or “I wish I had her intelligence.” Well, usually we think of intelligent people as being really smart, you know, they score well on tests, get good grades in school, and solve difficult problems easily. They often have good memories, big vocabularies, and high IQs. And if you are not one of these people, then you probably know someone who is.
Can you tell the difference between a computer and a human? As computers become more intelligent, it will become more difficult to say which is which. In 1950, a scientist named Alan Turing predicted that machines would one day become intelligent and able to think. He made a test called the Turing test. According to this test, a machine is intelligent, if it can fool people into thinking it is human.