Artificial Language Evolution on Autonomous Robots (ALEAR)
Artificial Language Evolution on Autonomous Robots
Start date: Feb 1, 2008,
End date: Jan 31, 2011
This tightly integrated focused project aims at fundamental breakthroughs in understanding and synthesising the mechanisms achieving cognition and language. It engages in carefully controlled experiments in which autonomous humanoid robots self-organise rich conceptual frameworks and communication systems with similar features as those found in human languages. Language and cognition are seen as complex adaptive systems that are continuously shaped by the actions of their users.The project takes a 'whole systems' approach and tackles the complete chain from embodiment and sensori-motor action to conceptualisation and language. Concept formation and language invention and acquisition are embedded in situated interactions. The inventory of concepts, the strategies for grounding them in the world, and action co-evolve with the emergent artificial languages. Next to the required physical and cognitive capacities of each robotic agent, we also focus on the complex systems phenomena that appear when a group of such agents starts to interact in a distributed fashion.The machinery required for these experiments will heavily push the state-of-the-art in all relevant technologies, particularly robotics, concept formation, computational linguistics, and A.I. We need rich sensors, actuators and robust, real-time performance of vision and motor control subsystems. We need sophisticated constraint-based conceptualisation of the world and effective parsing and production systems. Above all we need to discover how these systems can build up their competence autonomously and remain adaptive to cope with changing environments.The project's orientation towards robotic experimentation is complemented by a search for an encompassing framework in which we seek to identify the principles underlying the evolution of human language-like cognition and to investigate in how far these principles are relevant to understand the most magnificent achievement of our own minds: language.
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