Thursday, August 4, 2011


Here's an illustration of one of the more notable moments in instant messaging: the first ever interspecies internet conversation. On April 28th, 1998, Koko The Gorilla and Penny Patterson, President of The Gorilla Foundation, took on the world wide web live via AOL's IM. The results were sort of rocky, putting "conversation" in relative terms. Koko does address her audience a few times, yet comes off as uncooperative as she's mostly concerned about well... nipples. Yeah, it gets weird.

Koko's usage of words seems to largely reflects her demands. But it's largely consistent of with the claim that she uses nipples as a way of establishing empathy (this would later become the center of a lawsuit). Here's an annotated version of the chat, interpreting Koko's responses under this very premise. The Gorilla Foundation doesn't deny this claim, but they do say that Koko tends to use 'nipple' as a synonym for 'people', confusing things. Considering the debate over this matter, this conversation still remains interesting and very funny. Surely feels more authentic than Victor The Budgie. But hey, that's just me. Here's you can see Koko's vocabulary, along with it's frequency and you can draw your own conclusions.

I could've sworn that I've seen Koko engage in at least another internet conversation (using buttons), so for now you'll just have to settle for Koko touching William Shatner's balls.

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