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March 3, 2008 / davebirss

Goo goo ga ga bripp fzzzzzz

RobocubSome academics at the University of Plymouth are trying to teach this baby robot to talk.

Over the next four years, they’ll be working with language specialists trying to use the same techniques that parents use with their babies in the hope that they’ll develop some kind of organic cognitive abilities in the humanoid. They hope that at the end of this time it will understand concepts like shape and colour and be able to respond to simple commands like ‘put the red triangle in the blue box’.

I remember lots of talk of artificial intelligence when I was a teenager. Then it all just seemed to go quiet. I thought people had given up after seeing the first Terminator film. But it looks like this scary, apocalyptic view of the future may be just the stuff of films after all. If we’re leaving it to hardened academics to teach a robot the art of conversation, it will end up being the kind of robot you’d do anything to avoid talking to.

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