Pigs can play video games

Originally published at: Pigs can play video games | Boing Boing


Next thing they’ll discover gamer pigs can reddit. No wait…


Chimps are better than humans at some video games.

On learning agency: in the baby book What’s Going on in There? is described a pacifier that measures whether a baby sucks quickly or slowly. This was given to one-day-old babies to (a) observe that they had agency and (b) use it to play one of two prerecorded audio tracks. The babies would preferentially suck to hear their mother’s voice over hearing other women’s voices, and would preferentially suck to hear a woman speaking their mother’s language over hearing another language.


I can’t wait for the first pig versus human video game playoff.
Two legs good four legs bad, huh, huh? Amiright?


for years humanity remained vigilant in guarding against many perceived threats asteroids, ai uprisings, aliens, and time travellers but the demise of humans came when they over looked the pigs and and their brazen move to operate the joystick at a crisper facility. they transformed themselves into a new race. they became octopigusus .

sorry correction octopigusus plural form is actually octopigie


And they’ve been on 4chan for years. :smirk:


Awesome. Brilliant. And delicious.

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First, they came for my bananas, and I gave up bananas, because of the dangerous, toxic worker conditions. But then I found the organic, fair trade bananas.
Then, they came for my chocolate, and I switched to the more expensive, but humanely and ecologically produced chocolate, so greatly reduced my chocolate intake.
Then, they came for my bacon, and there was absolutely no fucking way to justify our treatment of these animals,…Argh. This is why people stop learning new things.

(I kid, about learning new things, but, golly…I wish we hadn’t built our modern world on such destructive habits, so anyone of conscience isn’t constantly learning about how we need to give up things or contribute to the evil…)

I mean, you can teach any mammal to play Pong, but what is this pig’s K/D ratio? Can it solve Professor Leyton’s matchstick puzzles? Can it hook up with dreamy dads in Dream Daddy?

Seriously though, if I could play a match of Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo against a pig, that would be amazing.


“What’s different here…is that the pigs had to grasp the very difficult concept that the thing they were manipulating (the joystick) was having its effect on a 2-dimensional computer-generated image (the cursor) that they could not touch, smell or interact with directly. That sort of conceptual learning is a huge mental leap for any animal, as this would never happen in the real world.”

“There is nothing in the natural behavior or evolutionary history of the pig that would have suggested they could do this to any degree,” Croney added.


I mean, I get so tired of biologists (and other researchers across the natural sciences!) even in 2021 still working from a default assumption that humans are oh-so-special and unique and entirely, utterly separate from other animals. Despite the existing - and growing - mountain of evidence that this assumption is utter nonsense.

I mean, the exact same thing said in these quotes could be said about humans. They even act as if “natural behaviour” is a useful term - animals learning and teaching new behaviours is widely documented, after all, so what constitutes “natural behaviour”? Observed behaviour not likely influenced by humans? Sure. But again, what constitutes “natural”? Isn’t the learning and transmission of knowledge culture?

Their framing also seems to show some rather simplistic thinking of how abstract thinking works - is “move the joystick and the nearby but not obviously connected dot moves to match” really that much more of an abstract idea than “remove dirt in a specific spot when prompted by smell, and there might be a mushroom beneath”? Sure, the mushroom might be perceptible through smell, but the dot is perceptible through vision, and it really doesn’t take a huge amount of trial and error to deduce that it moves in sync with movements of the joystick. A huge amount of animals are capable of learning through trial and error.

IMO, while this research is great overall, the researchers seem to be overstating the abstractness and complexity of the tasks presented, and are being far too narrow and literal in their interpretations of how these tasks might compare to “natural” tasks in the “real world”.

Here’s one that might suit them:

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