Curiosity and Languages

Pierre-Yves Oudeyer 1
1 Flowers - Flowing Epigenetic Robots and Systems
Inria Bordeaux - Sud-Ouest, U2IS - Unité d'Informatique et d'Ingénierie des Systèmes
Abstract : The morphogenesis of behavioral and cognitive structures, which may be observed, for example, in human children during their first years of life--becoming acquainted with their bodies, with their environment and the first rudiments of language--is the focus of my scientific work. In fact, that is what led me, out of curiosity, into research. I came to this field, which would seem to be situated between the social sciences and the life sciences, in a rather unorthodox way: I design and experiment with machines, particularly robots, whose purpose is to model these processes of morphogenesis. Alan Turing had suggested using this kind of approach back in the 1950s when he demonstrated how computers could be used to help us model and better understand the self-organization processes of elementary physical and chemical structures. This approach then became very influential in certain areas of biology and ethology, for example, to develop models of how termite nests are built. For the past twenty years, a certain number of researchers around the world, including myself, have been attempting to apply this approach, via the use of robots, to the creation of models in the areas of child development and the formation of cultural structures such as natural languages. This is the framework within which Flowers Fields was designed.
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Pierre-Yves Oudeyer. Curiosity and Languages. Catalogue of the Exhibition "Mathematics: A Beautiful Elsewhere", Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Actes Sud, 2011. ⟨hal-00788574⟩

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