Robots can develop the basics of language skills through interacting with a human, according to new research from the University of Hertfordshire. The research has just been published in the journal PLoS ONE.
The researchers, Dr Caroline Lyon, Professor Chrystopher Nehaniv and Dr Joe Saunders have done recently done new experiments as part of the iTalk project with the childlike iCub humanoid robot, to explore how language learning emerges. At first the robot can only babble and only perceives speech as a string of sounds, not differentiating words. But after 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 then adapted its output to the most frequently heard syllables to produce some word forms, such as the names of simple shapes and colours.
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