Ruth Schulz and her colleagues in Queensland, Australia, are teaching a set of robots to create their own language to communicate directions to each other. That couldn’t possibly end poorly for humans. These “Lingodroids” are a mobile platform with a camera, sonar, laser range finder, microphone, and speakers.
To understand the concept behind the project, consider a simplified case of how language might have developed. Let’s say that all of a sudden you wake up somewhere with your memory completely wiped, not knowing English, Klingon, or any other language. And then you meet some other person who’s in the exact same situation as you. What do you do? [IEEE]
Well, rape them obviously, but for some reason these Lingodroids tried to establish a common language instead. Weirdos.
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. [IEEE]
After awhile the robots developed very specific names for directions and locations, agreeing within 10 degrees for directions and within 1.25 feet (0.375 meters) for distances. This comes as no surprise. I frikken KNEW the toaster was trying to tell the roomba where I keep the sharpest knives. And don’t even try to look innocent in all this, refrigerator. You could make ice faster if you wanted to. You’ve been holding out on me for years.