Feeds

Parrots get online

It is not dead, it's just browsing

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The domain names www.parrotsonline.net and www.parrotschat.com have not yet been registered, but if researchers at MIT Media Labs have their way, they might be soon.

New Scientist reports that US scientists are trying to teach a parrot to surf the web. Arthur, an African Grey, can switch between four "sites" at the moment, but this is very much the beginning of the project.

Irene Pepperberg, a biologist at the University of Arizona and Arthur's owner says: "What we're trying to do is build a web browser for parrots."

The trouble with parrots, it seems, is that they are too clever for their own good, and being very sociable creatures they get bored and lonely very quickly. The idea behind this research is that there could be an online community of parrots who could keep each other company while all their people are out at work.

If you don't think that sounds daft enough yet, the animal loving researchers plan to build a browser for dogs too. And we mean daft in the best possible sense of the word here.

Arthur's browser consists of a plastic box with two click-able levers. One selects pictures and the other lets him listen to a few bars of music. But Arthur is not a child of the technology generation and seems deeply unaffected by any of the pictures.

Undeterred, Pepperberg says: "We haven't got software that he is interested in yet. We need to get the ergonomics of the clicker right so that he plays with it more."

Arthur's supervisor in the lab is also keen. "Toys are OK," he said, "but we want him to be social."

Bless.®

Check out the researchers' site for more details.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.