What is the definition of intelligence? The ability to use tools? A good memory? The ability to communicate ideas? If so, Klein will introduce you to the brilliant black feathered member of the avian community in this fast-paced talk.

Who is he:

Joshua Klein was born in 1974 in Seattle, Washington. He has written three books to date, one was a science fiction book, Roo’d   His other two books focus on the world of business. He is known for his work in creating alternative, and innovative methods for solving complex problems.

Why you should listen:

His life work is demystifying the complexity of social systems, as well as consumer and animal behavior. In this talk he demonstrates the intelligence of crows and proposes a model for intra-species coexistence that will mutually benefit humanity and the birds.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Klein demonstrates that the extinction of species does not apply across the board to all species. Rats, cockroaches, English sparrows and crows are not in decline. In fact they are experiencing exponential growth. Why might that be?
  2. In his talk he gives instances of behavior that was both instrumentally and classically conditioned. What were they?
  3. Crows can recognize individual humans. What evidence does Klein present to support their memory abilities?
  4. The experience of nut-dropping crows in Japan, illustrates not only problem-solving but the communication of knowledge from one generation to the next. How does this fit the usual definition of intelligence?
  5. How do different species handle the coin machine?
  6. If you had a crow that you wanted to train, what would you train it to do? What methods would you use?

A thought experiment on the intelligence of crows with Joshua Klein


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