Scientists at a US naval base in San Diego, California, have been training sea lions to play video games, but one of them, Spike, has emerged as the most “avid gamer”.
Spike and two other sea lions are involved in the US Navy Marine Mammal Program, under which scientists from Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific and the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF) come together to care for the Navy’s sea lions and dolphins, the US Navy said.
Video from January released by the Navy via DVIDS shows Spike using his snout to “press a button and maneuver a cursor through a maze” on the Enclosure Video Enrichment system.
“Although he was the last of three male sea lions to learn how to play these video games, he was the first to complete the full training program," the Navy said. “He learned to understand the concept of controlling a cursor on a screen, then was gradually put through a series of more challenging games, with plenty of fishy rewards along the way.”
According to the Navy, around “300 people care for the program’s more than 120 sea lions and dolphins, all of which are trained in reconnaissance and recovery tasks marine mammals can perform better than humans.”
Sea lions and dolphins, the Navy says, “exhibit intense focus when facing increasingly difficult tasks which lie at the edge of their abilities … They show delight when they win; they want to play even when they aren’t getting positive reinforcement for winning.”
One way they differ from humans, noted Kelley Winship, a lead researcher, is the absence of frustration. “You don’t really get a sea lion scoffing and throwing the controller down,” she said. Credit: US Navy via Storyful
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- Good boy!
- We'll see him do some strategies like that where he--