Steels, L., Kaplan, F., McIntyre, A. and Van Looveren, J. Crucial factors in the origins of word-meaning. In Wray, A., editor, The Transition to Language, pages 252-271, Oxford University Press. Oxford, UK, 2002.

Sony CSL authors: Joris Bleys, Frédéric Kaplan, Angus McIntyre, Luc Steels, Joris Van Looveren


We have been conducting large-scale public experiments with artificial robotic agents to explore what the necessary and sufficient prerequisites are for word-meaning pairs to evolve autonomously in a population of agents through a self-organized process. We focus not so much on the question of why language has evolved but rather on how. Our hypothesis is that when agents engage in particular interactive behaviors which in turn require specific cognitive structures, they automatically arrive at a language system. We study this topic by performing experiments based on artificial systems. One such experiment, known as the Talking Heads Experiment, employs a set of visually grounded autonomous robots into which agents can install themselves to play language games with each other.

Keywords: evolutionary linguistics, Talking Heads, language evolution


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BibTeX entry

@INCOLLECTION { steels:01a, ADDRESS="Oxford, UK", AUTHOR="Steels, L. and Kaplan, F. and McIntyre, A. and Van Looveren, J.", BOOKTITLE="The Transition to Language", CHAPTER="12", EDITOR="Wray, A.", PAGES="252--271", PUBLISHER="Oxford University Press", TITLE="Crucial factors in the origins of word-meaning", YEAR="2002", }