The Talking Heads experiment: Origins of words and meanings

Inside this Book

If you make use of this material, you may credit the authors as follows:

Steels Luc, "The Talking Heads experiment: Origins of words and meanings", Language Science Press, 2015, DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_559870, License:

The Talking Heads Experiment, conducted in the years 1999-2001, was the first large-scale experiment in which open populations of situated embodied agents created for the first time ever a new shared vocabulary by playing language games about real world scenes in front of them. The agents could teleport to different physical sites in the world through the Internet. Sites, in Antwerp, Brussels, Paris, Tokyo, London, Cambridge and several other locations were linked into the network. Humans could interact with the robotic agents either on site or remotely through the Internet and thus influence the evolving ontologies and languages of the artificial agents. The present book describes in detail the motivation, the cognitive mechanisms used by the agents, the various installations of the Talking Heads, the experimental results that were obtained, and the interaction with humans. It also provides a perspective on what happened in the field after these initial groundbreaking experiments. The book is invaluable reading for anyone interested in the history of agent-based models of language evolution and the future of Artificial Intelligence.


Shared Vocabulary, Situated Embodied Agents, Agent-based Models, Future Of Artificial Intelligence, Human-robotic Interaction, Language In Robotics, Language Evolution, Language Games, Lexicon, Paris, Semiotics, Syntax

Rights | License

Except where otherwise noted, this item has been published under the following license:

Takedown policy

If you believe that this publication infringes copyright, please contact us at and provide relevant details so that we can investigate your claim.