At 4/6/13 11:26 PM, LordZeebmork wrote:
This is stupid.
What are the most intelligent species other than dolphins that currently exist? Crows, dolphins, and octopuses. It's theorized now that social coordination is required for the development of language and sapience; if Hofstadter's strange loop hypothesis is correct, the two could even be causally linked. So: which of those three are social? If crows: could their body structure accommodate a dramatic increase in brain size?
Their body structure would have to change; at the very least they would need to be bigger. That said, I'm going with ravens over crows. Generally speaking a raven is already larger and more intelligent; crows are probably to them what apes are to us.
As for octopi, I don't see them evolving intelligence above their current level; they're already so effective at what they do that they don't need it, barring any significant change in their environment. But the major advantage they have over crows and dolphins is their ability to manipulate objects with their tentacles. (The major disadvantage: they eat each other.)
If social skills are the ultimate measure of sentience, then you have to go with dolphins, no question. Crows and octopi congregate when they have to, but are generally loners; you almost never see a solitary dolphin. Furthermore, dolphins have the ability to socialize with other species, which is a major leap ahead of the rest of the animal kingdom.
Of course, all this assumes that the most intelligent species will claim dominion after we're gone. And it doesn't qualify machines as a species, a bias which I think would have to change post singularity.