Thursday, October 6, 2011

Project Nim

Dave and I went and saw the documentary Project Nim:

It's about Nim, the chimpanzee who was the focus of an experiment in the 70's. The experiment was whether he could learn to communicate (using sign language) if he was raised like a human child. The documentary follows his life while showing footage and interviews with the various people that were involved with him along the way.

I seriously recommend watching this documentary. So interesting. It really makes you think about the capacity that animals have to human-like they are but at the same time how much they are not. I have to warn you that watching this will also make you feel know that humans have done these types of things to animals...Ethics don't even seem to exist, at all. It's so sad to see Nim getting thrown back into a world with other chimps that he has never known once the experiment is abruptly stopped. And things get worse for him from there, unfortunately. I'm almost tearing up as I think about it.

And trying to get past the sadness and awfulness of it all, I can't help but think about the 'experiment'. Nim learns well over a 100 signs and he combines them. He uses them to communicate...that is language, in my eyes at least.

Here's the site if you want to watch the trailer or read about it:

Then watch it and talk to me about it!

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