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Scientists at MIT’s media lab build an ethically enriched world. For parrots.

Parrots are highly social and normally live paired within flocks. Yet 20 million of them are being held in captivity in the U.S., suffering from lack of avian companionship that often results in poor psychological well-being. What can be done to mitigate this interspecies injustice?

Stop capturing and enslaving them? Set poor Polly free? Nah. The MIT Media lab unveiled a technological solution in a recently published paper titled “Design and Evaluation of an Agency-Based Parrot-to-Parrot Video-Calling System for Interspecies Ethical Enrichment.”

18 pet birds were recruited to evaluate the potential of a parrot-to-parrot video calling system. Settled social scientism techniques were used to assess the system in terms of perception, agency, engagement, and overall perceived benefits. Surprise, surprise, surprise, it was scientifically determined that the birds loved it (p<.05)! And their owners did too, some of them calling the birdie benefits “life transformative.”

How’s that for using research dollars at the world’s leading STEM university to build a better world? Don’t miss the supplemental video with its touching musical accompaniment. Even the New York Times thought it was swell, the publicity giving our intrepid social scientists a better shot at more funding to continue their noble work.

Next up, a Tinder-style parrot dating-and-mating service.


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