Towards communication

The new book by Luc Steels on Grounding of Language has appeared: How can a language be evolved and established in a group of robots? One prerequisite is the existence of comparable grounded internal representations, like an internal model of the body. The following paper explains how the MMC internal body model can subserve perception and how this can enable communication.

Schilling, M. (2012), “Grounded internal body models for communication: Integration of sensory, motor and visual spaces for mediating conceptualization“. In L. Steels & M. Hild (Eds.), Language Grounding in Robots. Berlin: Springer (pages 131–150).

How are conceptual spaces constituted? The necessity to ground higher level concepts in lower level properties has been widely acknowledged over the last years and has been supported by findings from research in diverse areas ranging from Psychology, Cognitive Science to Biology and Neuroscience. But even more important is to look at interactions between different levels of representation and how these interactions shape the conceptual space. As with an increasing number of involved processes such interactions are getting complex, in the following we want to address this question through a minimal cognitive systems approach. An internal model of the own body can be assumed to be a central and early representation which is already used for motor control and may be utilised for planning ahead in a type of internal simulation.We are now interested in how this internal model is involved in the conceptualisation of actions when not only performed by oneself but also when used in a cooperative scenario. The following article focusses on how this internal model can be recruited in order to mediate between different sensory domains, as it is necessary to connect, e.g., the proprioceptive space when performing an action with a visual space, when seeing an action, in order to constitute a comprehensive conceptualisation. The article introduces the biologically inspired neural network approach which can subserve different function in different context and is a prerequisite for elaborate conceptual spaces as are needed for cooperation or communication. In addition, it is discussed how the internal body model can be employed in action Language Games, in which agents faced with the task of communicating about actions are able to self-organize a communication system to come up with a solution.