More about babies - of a sort. You may have seen reports that Plymouth University, with support from many other institutions, has won the opportunity to teach a baby robot to speak. The robot in question is the iCub, and the project is part of Italk, funded by the EU under its Seventh Framework Programme, to the tune of £4.7 million (you can’t help wondering whether it wouldn’t have been value for money to have slipped Steve Grand half a million while they were at it…).
The gist of it seems to be that next year the people at Plymouth will get the iCub to engage in various dull activities like block-stacking (a perennial with both babies and AI) and try to introduce speech communication about the tasks. It is meant to be learning in a way far closer to the typical human experience than anything attempted before. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any clear statement of how they expect the language skills to work, though there is quite a lot of technical detail available about the iCub.
Go to Conscioius Entities for the rest.