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Lingodroid robots develop their own language, quietly begin plotting against mankind

Amar Toor, @amartoo
05.18.11
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It's one thing for a robot to learn English, Japanese, or any other language that we humans have already mastered. It's quite another for a pair of bots to develop their own, entirely new lexicon, as these two apparently have. Created by Ruth Schulz and her team of researchers at the University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology, each of these so-called Lingodroids constructed their special language after navigating their way through a labyrinthine space. As they wove around the maze, the Lingobots created spatial maps of their surroundings, with the help of on-board cameras, laser range finders and sonar equipment that helped them avoid walls. They also created words for each mapped location, using a database of syllables. With the mapping complete, the robots would reconvene and communicate their findings to each other, using mounted microphones and speakers. One bot, for example, would spit out a word it had created for the center of the maze ("jaya"), sending both of them off on a "race" to find that spot. If they ended up meeting at the center of the room, they would agree to call it "jaya." From there, they could tell each other about the area they'd just come from, thereby spawning new words for direction and distance, as well. Schulz is now looking to teach her bots how to express more complex ideas, though her work is likely to hit a roadblock once these two develop a phrase for "armed revolt."

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