We are, as the critic George Steiner observed, “language animals”. Perhaps that’s why we are fascinated by other creatures that appear to have language – dolphins, whales, apes, birds and so on. In her fascinating book, Atlas of AI, Kate Crawford relates how, at the end of the 19th century, Europe was captivated by a horse called Hans that apparently could solve maths problems, tell the time, identify days on a calendar, differentiate musical tones and spell out words and sentences by tapping his hooves.
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