From nonsense babbling to first words to full sentences, the process of a baby learning a language is fascinating to watch.
Watching a robot go through those same stages while learning a language — that’s revolutionary.
Researchers have created a humanoid robot — designed to look like a baby — that can learn language like a human infant.
It’s important that the robot be human-shaped. Human interaction is necessary to learn language, and a humanoid robot will evoke the proper response in its human teacher, while a computer screen would not.
Another reason for the importance of a human-shaped robot is that some researchers think that some brain functions are shaped by the bodies that the brains are in. This means that a brain in a jar would actually think differently than a brain in a body.
Don’t get too excited, though. The robot can’t think like a baby can — it is only capable of learning basic words. A robot with a consciousness — one that can think and make decisions for itself — is still worlds away.
How do you think people learn language? Could a robot ever truly replicate the process?