Robot learns language through 'conversation' with people

Jun 13, 2012

A robot analogous to a child between 6 and 14 months old can develop rudimentary linguistic skills through interaction with a human participant, as reported June 13 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

By engaging in a few minutes of "conversation" with humans, in which the participants were instructed to speak to the robot as if it were a small child, the robot moved from random syllabic babble to producing some salient wordforms, the names of simple shapes and colors. The participants were not researchers involved in the project, and were asked to use their own words, rather than any prescribed lines.

The researchers, led by Caroline Lyon of the University of Hertfordshire, suggest that this work may be useful for understanding in humans. "It is known that infants are sensitive to the frequency of sounds in speech, and these experiments show how this sensitivity can be modelled and contribute to the learning of word forms by a ."

Explore further: DARPA to Atlas contest hopefuls: Time to cut the cord

More information: Lyon C, Nehaniv CL, Saunders J (2012) Interactive Language Learning by Robots: The Transition from Babbling to Word Forms. PLoS ONE 7(6): e38236. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038236

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Robots to help children to form relationships

May 29, 2007

A project which is using robots to help children with developmental or cognitive impairments to interact more effectively has just started at the University of Hertfordshire.

Toddlers don't listen to their own voice like adults do

Dec 22, 2011

When grown-ups and kids speak, they listen to the sound of their voice and make corrections based on that auditory feedback. But new evidence shows that toddlers don't respond to their own voice in quite the same way, according ...

Robots learn to create language

May 17, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Communication is a vital part of any task that has to be done by more than one individual. That is why humans in every corner of the world have created their own complex languages that help ...

Recommended for you

Google delivers another earnings letdown, stock sinks

38 minutes ago

Google has gotten into the habit of missing analysts' earnings targets, frustrating investors who believe the online search leader would be more profitable it wasn't pouring so much money into far-flung projects ...

Skin device uses motion to power electronics

1 hour ago

Can a skin patch power wearables? Skin-based generators have become an area of focus among researchers working on how to scavenge muscle motion whereby skin becomes a charge-collector. A detailed report in ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

StarGazer2011
3 / 5 (2) Jun 13, 2012
a few minutes of conversation? Sounds like the robot learned quicker than a human child.
This should be pursued for AI research, I've always thought we should mimic how nature does intelligence.
Tausch
1 / 5 (1) Aug 13, 2012
Yes. Finding the mutual biochemical 'communication between neurons of the brain and the developing fetus during gestation is the key.

This will contribute to learning all parts of the human language - all 5000 'parts' of the spoken human language in a matter of one year - not a lifetime of 'learning' of only a few dozen 'parts' (languages)fluently.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.