via BoingBoing, I learn of “technology hacker” Joshua Klein.  Klein has developed a vending machine that teaches crows to use itself.  Klein postulates that if crows (I assume we’re talking Corvus brachyrhnchos here) can be taught to find coins and bring them to a predetermined location for a reward, they might also be trainable to do things like picking up litter, or even search and rescue.

Is this domestication?  Is it half a domestication?  What kind of unintended consequences can we expect? (This isn’t a cynical question; there are ALWAYS unintended consequences, and they aren’t necessarily good or bad.)  If this were to become a widespread program, would the food rewards be enough to sustain a significantly increased crow population/ population density, and if so, how will this impact the spread of avian disease and the populations of critters that crows prey on?  If a crow who has been so trained gets into a cash register, is the vending machine operator liable in any way?

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