Inside Animal Minds

Frans de Waal on the Emerging Science of Animal Cognition

September 4, 2016

What separates your mind from an animal's? It's a question we've all asked, but renowned primatologist Frans de Waal says there's no point trying to rank who's smarter or dumber in the animal world. In fact, he believes there's no clear dividing line between humans and the rest of the animal world.



I'd like to turn that question around: are we even smart enough to realize how dumb we are?

We look around and see nothing smarter than us on this planet, and we naively conclude that we are perfectly smart, the smartest things that will ever exist. That's why we aren't afraid of super-human artificial intelligence. We simply can't conceive of such a thing.