Robotic Acquisition of Language

Interesting aside in a posting on language acquisition about an experiment in which robots spontaneously developed a simple language including synonyms. Referenced paper, "Boot Strapping Word Semantics," available as PDF and PS.

The "gavagai" problem, mentioned at the beginning of the post, is a crux in language acquisition pointed out by Quine in his arguments about the indeterminacy of translation: a native speaker saying "gavagai" and pointing to a running white rabbit doesn't necessarily indicate that "gavagai" means "rabbit"—it could mean "rabbit," "white," "running," "hunted animal," "undetached rabbit parts," etc.


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