The language of human beings < language of robots

Carton Virto, Eider

Elhuyar Zientzia eta Teknologia aldizkariaren zuzendaria

Those of us who were children in the 1980s grew up dreaming of a car like Kitt, but twenty years later, the smart answering machines of the telephone companies remind us daily how far the day is when we chat with robots that will also understand our jokes. In fact, talking to a robot still involves bending the logic of the machine.

All of us who have tried to talk to a machine have realized that the language of the machine is not the same as ours. At first we are fascinated to see that it is able to understand us, and it is a great achievement to be able to speak with a machine, since there are many complex tasks that must be done to give that capacity to a machine. The robot must differentiate the words and groups of words; locate them, from all the meanings they may have, what the speaker has used in each case; devise an appropriate answer and say. That is what our brain learns and does for itself, and we are so used to forget how complicated it really is. Only computer scientists and linguists who try to teach a machine know what tools and processes each of these steps requires. What to say if the robot, along with words, also has to catch irony, humor or sarcasm!

But the indentation is there. Yes, at least if we want to talk to the robot like your friend. And especially if the talking robots are going to replace some of the works that until now people did. In fact, this is where the fascination for speaking robots often ends and frustration and distrust begin. Despite the difficulty of speaking to machines, today's robots are not full speakers and should be considered as such in all areas. If I have talking machines across the phone, I want Kitt and, if not, a person.

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