Self-Organization in the Evolution of Speech (Oxford Studies in the Evolution of Language)

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9780199289158: Self-Organization in the Evolution of Speech (Oxford Studies in the Evolution of Language)
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What is the origins of speech? How speech systems of languages form and evolve? How a child learns speech?

Can robots invent and learn their own vocalisation system? How constructing robot can help us understand better humans? 

This book studies these questions, following a systemic approach, where the problem is approached globally. It gather human sciences, natural sciences and computational sciences within the same laboratory of ideas to explore the origins of language.

It draws some parallels with the formation of biological structures like bee hives and shell shapes, and explore how self-organisation, in interaction with natural selection, can explain important aspects of the morphogenesis of speech.

In particular, it presents robotic experiments in which a population of individuals, with models of the vocal tract and the auditory system, invent, form and negotiate its own system of combinatorial vocalisations, through local peer-to-peer interactions. It compares the emergent systems with human sound systems, and show that strong similarities can be observed.

In this context, and from new perspectives on artificial intelligence, new scientific maps appear, and show us stimulating paths to the origins of speech.

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About the Author:

Pierre-Yves Oudeyer, research director at Inria (France), studies mechanisms of learning and development of sensorimotor, cognitive and social skills in humans and robots. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, where computational and robotic sciences contribute to our understanding of humans, he is interested in the role of self-organization and learning within the interactions between brain, body and physical and social environment.

He studies the role of curiosity and intrinsic motivation in the acquisition of new skills, and has played, with his collaborators, a key role in the elaboration of mechanisms of curiosity in robotics and artificial intelligence. He conducted experiments with robots which led to new hypotheses about the organization of cognitive development in infants, driving them to progressively discover its body and its interactions with its environment.

He also studied how new languages can be formed in communities of individuals, and in particular by constructing and analyzing populations of robots capable to invent their own language.

Laureate of the European ERC Grant program, and of the prize Le Monde in academic research, he heads the Flowers laboratory at Inria and Ensta-Paristech, France. Previously, he has been researcher at Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris.

He also actively participates to the diffusion of sciences towards the general public, through writing popular science books and articles, and participates regularly to exhibitions about science. In particular, he participated to the exhibition "Mathematics: a Beautiful Elsewhere" at Fondation Cartier for Contemporary Art in Paris, and collaborated with moviemaker David Lynch in the context of the Ergo-Robots project. 

Web: pyoudeyer.com
Twitter: twitter.com/pyoudeyer

Review:

This original and fascinating account will interest all those interested in the evolution of speech. * Folia Linguistica *

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