Feathered Algorithms: The Surprising Superiority of Nature’s Pigeons Over AI

A scene from 24 Hour Party People by Michael Winterbottom charts the rise of British New Wave music and demonstrates society’s stance on pigeons. It involves feeding the pigeons with poisonous breadcrumbs, resulting in the birds falling and dying. Though viewed as a maligned bird, a recent study revealed pigeons can be savvy creatures. A professor at Ohio State University and the University of Iowa led the study which found pigeons could do complex visual categorization tasks similar to AI. Scientists and researchers were intrigued by the pigeons’ capabilities, particularly in learning very challenging tasks. Pigeons, like AI, have the capability to make decisions and conduct complex tasks with consistency. While we often celebrate the invention of AI, we fail to recognize the merit of pigeons as extremely adaptable creatures who have saved lives during the First World War.