In working towards accomplishing a human-level acquisition and understanding of language, a robot must meet two requirements: the ability to learn words from interactions with its physical environment, and the ability to learn language from people in settings for language use, such as spoken dialogue. In a live interactive study, we test the hypothesis that emotional displays are a viable solution to the cold-start problem of how to communicate without relying on language the robot does not–indeed, cannot–yet know. We explain our modular system that can autonomously learn word groundings through interaction and show through a user study with 21 participants that emotional displays improve the quantity and quality of the inputs provided to the robot.
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McNeill, David and Kennington, Casey. (2020). "Learning Word Groundings from Humans Facilitated by Robot Emotional Displays". Proceedings of the 21th Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue, 97-106.