Friday, May 19, 2006

Learning from Children Learning Language

Something very interesting is going at MIT's Media Lab. Associate Professor Deb Roy, head the Media Lab's Cognitive Machines group, has decked out his house to monitor his own child's acquisition of language. The surveillance equipment will watch for every stimulus that the child receives and try to piece together how people move from simple utterances (like my own boy's "ba-ba" and "ah-duh") to more complex grammatical constructions. I'm very curious as to what they will learn from this experiment. Since my own child is approaching 9 months, I'll be conducting a smaller-scale version of this experiment of my own... albeit without the expensive video equipment and computer processing. Here's hoping that this research is a step towards computers that actually understand language.
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