The iCub robot was already doing pretty well for itself in the creepiness department, but a group of researchers from the University of Plymouth are now working to take things one big step further, by teaching the so-called "baby robot" to talk (as opposed to teaching it baby talk
). That will supposedly be done over the next four years, during which time the researchers will work with language development specialists who normally study how parents teach children to speak. Eventually, they hope that the robot will be able to perform basic tasks like stacking wooden blocks, and be able name objects and actions so that it can speak basic phrases like "robot puts stick on cube" or "I want more life, father." What's more, while the research hasn't even begun yet, one of the professors involved sees it as nothing short of a milestone, saying that "the outcome of the research will define the scientific and technological requirements for the design of humanoid robots able to develop complex behavioural, thinking and communication skills through individual and social learning." Unless the robot gets some ideas of its own, that is.
[Image courtesy of BBC News