Petra loves Alexa. She loves her family’s voice-activated virtual assistant so much that she carries on animated conversations with it. Those conversations are hilarious. And if you listen closely, Alexa seems to be enjoying herself as well.
About African Grey Parrots
Petra is an African Grey Parrot, which is one of the best kind of parrots to be. Why? Well, for one, they live a very long time. Try 40 to 60 years. That’s pretty cool. For another thing, they’re incredibly smart. African Greys have a measured intelligence equal to that of a six-year-old child. So if you see a bumper sticker that says the driver’s African Grey is smarter than your kindergartener, chances are, they’re right.
Petra likes to use her real intelligence to converse with artificial intelligence. And her family has created a YouTube channel to spotlight their conversations. Check it out.
Petra Asks About the Land of her Ancestors
The African Grey Parrot comes from Central Africa. Their natural range includes Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda. In this video, Petra asks Alexa to tell her about Africa. Alexa obliges.
Petra Makes a Shopping List
Petra likes to be helpful. In this video, she and Alexa construct a shopping list, so the family will know what they need to buy.
Another parrot named Bibi also made a shopping list. Bibi, as you can tell, likes strawberries.
Petra Sets the Mood
Here, Petra lowers the lights to set the mood, so she can reveal her deepest feelings to her best friend Alexa.
Do Parrots Really Talk?
Do parrots really talk? Some people are convinced that parrots can carry on a conversation. Others believe that parrots merely mimic (or “parrot”) what they hear. The jury is still out. It’s unlikely that parrots understand the complex meaning of words and sentences. However, they can pick up on the emotional context of words. And their powers of association are impressive. The intelligence of a six year old child, remember?
What’s really impressive, though, is how Petra can mimic the mechanical beep-boop noises that Alexa puts out.
It’s Petra’s House Now
Petra’s family put the dog out. And Petra used Alexa to play a song that let everyone know exactly what the situation is now.
Petra Likes Random Facts
In this video, Petra asks Alexa to tell her a fact. What does Alexa say?
Petra Likes The Rock
Just like we all do. And she uses Alexa to find out all about him.
How Do You Teach a Bird to Speak?
As with learning any new skill, practice, practice, practice. Wikihow recommends starting out with one or two simple words. Look at your bird when you say them, say them several times, and repeat the practice between two and five times per day. But don’t keep it up for too long. Five minutes per session should be enough. If you force your bird to practice for too long, he or she will become bored and won’t want to do it again.
Parrots are smart, and will pick up on context clues. If you lift your parrot up while saying “Up,” there’s a good chance he or she will understand the meaning, too.
Are there Any Words a Parrot Can’t Say?
Parrots have a tongue, like humans. And that tongue can be used to form speech sounds. However, the similarities end there. Parrots do not have lips, for example. So you might expect them to have difficulty making rounded sounds. Parrots also lack the vocal folds (or vocal cords) that people have. Instead, they vibrate an organ called the syrinx, and a piece of cartilage called the pessulus. As a result, their speech sounds can sound quite different.
Bird Brain vs. Computer Brain
Can a parrot carry on a conversation? Can an AI-powered virtual assistant? Laugh if you like. But Petra and Alexa certainly seem like a well suited pair.
Featured Image is a Screen Shot.