In all of our robots-take-over-the-world fantasies, there’s usually one last conversation between “us” and “them.” The robots always speak English, of course! But what if the robots didn’t speak English at all? What if robots had a language of their own composed of bleeps and bloops? Scenes of Will Smith in I, Robot would seem ridiculous with Smith just shouting out dial tones. So it was with great fear that we read the BBC’s report that said robots are now developing a language that’s all their own. Although the language is still in its early stages, the BBC says “the lexicon has proved so sophisticated that it can be used to help robots find places other robots direct them to.”
The robots move around their office at the University of Queensland and plot out their location with the help of their onboard cameras. When they reach somewhere they’ve never been before, the robots put together random syllables to form location names. “Kuzo,” “jaro,” and “fexo” are three robot destinations. Those are horrendous town names! If any of them says anything that’s even close to “New-er York,” we’re running for the hills.
The BBC spoke to Dr. Ruth Shulz from the University of Queensland, a/k/a the robots’ evil basecamp. She had this to say:
“Robot-robot languages take the human out of the loop,” she said. “This is important because the robots demonstrate that they understand the meaning of the words they invent independent of humans.”
Robots inventing things independently of humans? What if they build…robots!? Yikes, when’s that rapture supposed to be coming again?