Various and sundry science-y types have managed to get various and sundry of the cleverer primates to communicate, using sign language or point-to-it symbols high-tech and low; heck, most of us manage to communicate with our house pets a little.
But chimps and bonobos are pretty smart primates even without any help; give one a head start with a nice big vocabulary and who knows what might happen?
They might take up cooking.
Now, if only my plan to start arming mountain gorillas so they can take care of poachers on their own could work out... (Unlikely, as they don't seem to have the kind of outlook that makes military recruiters happy. Maybe I've been reading too much L. Neil Smith).
Interesting moral question buried in all this. If you can teach 'em language, give them a better mental toolset, are you obliged to? H. Sap's Burden? (Didn't work out all that well when we tried among our own species, the self-proclaimed uplifters did a lot of down-treading). Bonobos like the fellow in the link are far more inclined to make love than war and could probably be lulled calm with a drum circle; but chimpanzees are bigger, stronger, plenty smart and lacking in scruples. Most chimps are more than happy to stomp on anyone who looks at them funny. I'd as soon not make it any easier for one to beat me at at checkers. Or to death.
Good heavens, what if they got into law school and politics? What if they got MBAs? Haven't we got troubles enough? ("Sorry, Smith, your department has been over budget the last three quarters. I'm going to have chew off your nose and fingers.") Then there'll be the bush-meat lawsuits to sort out. And worse waiting in the wings.
YANKEE RADIO TOOL KIT, #106
4 weeks ago