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„We need to talk“

Do robots need a body to learn natural language?

Humans learn language through their body. A small child that falls a thousand times while trying to walk grasps the word “falling” this way. Later on it understands metaphors such as “the stocks are falling”.

A robot “learns” this sentence with the help of algorithms. Some scientist claim, that this approach is the reason why robots of today fail to acquire natural language. Another and possibly better approach isbased on the concept of embodiment. Embodiment means that intelligence is not created through thinking alone, but through the interplay of body, thinking and environment. In this film I ask “robot-guru” Rolf Pfeifer and tech philosopher Klaus Mainzer, whether embodiment has been integrated in robot communication yet, and whether embodiment it is at all necessary to start a conversation between humans and robots. One of my guests is Roboy, a humanoid robot developed by Rolf Pfeifer.


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