Lingodroid Robots Invent Spoken Language

Lingodroid robots are catching up to humans at a furious rate. In recent experiments at the University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology, simple mobile platform robots communicate with each other developing new words for locations in their common room.


(Lingodroid robots)

If one of the robots finds itself in an unfamiliar area, it'll make up a word to describe it, choosing a random combination from a set of syllables. It then communicates that word to other robots that it meets, thereby defining the name of a place.

From this fundamental base, the robots can play games with each other to reinforce the language. For example, one robot might tell the other robot “kuzo,” and then both robots will race to where they think “kuzo” is. When they meet at or close to the same place, that reinforces the connection between a word and a location. And from “kuzo,” one robot can ask the other about the place they just came from, resulting in words for more abstract concepts like direction and distance:


(Lingodroid language map)

Science fiction fans are quite comfortable with the idea of robots communicating with each other. In Star Wars, the colorful droids C3PO and R2D2 talk with each other constantly. See also the talk between robots circuit from Frekerik Pohl's 1954 story The Midas Plague to see how robots communicate outside human hearing.

Once there is talking, can lying be far behind? See Robots learn to lie for the inside scoop.

Via IEEE Spectrum. Thanks to Zac Hunter for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/21/2011)

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