Way back when I read Jane Goodall’s books, I came across a picture of a chimp leaning back on a tree, like a migrant worker at lunch, staring into the distant trees. It was captioned something like, “Evered in the forest.” At the time, I mistakenly read “evered” as an adverb, e.g., as “perpetually,” a chimp contemplating the forest until the end of time. I loved that caption, and still do. It wasn’t until later that I discovered that Evered is an actual name, like Burt or Ernie, that she applied.
Anywho, I just noticed Goodall on the Colbert Report (the greatest television presence ever?), and she killed on the topics of forests and chimps. It’s rare to see someone wittier than Colbert (even though he often boxes with kid gloves to midwife his points via his character. In that respect, his talents are wildly exceptional. She was more than up to the task, and his kid gloves got smoked, to his appreciative surprise.).
Both the chimps (our nearest relatives) and forests are going away, which doesn’t sound good for us. What? Are we gonna write an app that makes it all okay? No, Sir. No, Ma’am. At that point we’re cooked.
I’ve got a buddy at Tufts who teaches AI (and co-teaches with Daniel Dennett, prolly the world’s most famous living philosopher). They are dreaming of post-organic evolution, but entire sabbaticals get wasted on starting page-one of their books. True story.
They are about the smartest people available, and I’ve been in flagship institutions.