2015 through the media (cat/esp/ang)

From the Language Evolution Lab, we wish you a wonderful 2016! We would like to welcome the new year with an overview of our media presence in 2015. Here you have a list of 12 selected links to videos, interviews and articles. Enjoy!

happy new year qrio01/15 – (video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaVnyn1tSIE

03/15 – http://www.lavanguardia.com/ciencia/ciencia-cultura/20150322/54428318997/ex-machina-robots.html

03/15 – http://www.lavanguardia.com/ciencia/ciencia-cultura/20150322/54428319841/robots-miedo.html

04/15 – (video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unPkcn5wrPY

04/15 – (video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7cfggDMMWw

05/15 – http://www.lavanguardia.com/ciencia/ciencia-cultura/20150518/54431707931/ciencia-arte-abejas.html

07/15 – http://www.lavanguardia.com/cultura/20150726/54434154089/los-robots-y-las-maquinas-irrumpen-en-la-escena-cultural-de-buenos-aires.html

07/15 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYlhBQzJwa0

11/15 – http://www.nuvol.com/noticies/luc-steels-les-decisions-dels-humans-han-de-limitar-la-intel·ligencia-artificial/

11/15 – (video) http://www.cccb.org/ca/multimedia/videos/intelligencia-artificial-per-la-pau-o-per-la-guerra/222484

12/15 – http://www.jotdown.es/2015/11/luc-steels/

12/15 – (video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsiaLx5_mpI

The Evolution of Meaning

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 15.32.33

Evolution of Meaning Workshop, 25-26/01/16 at Wissenchaftskolleg zu Berlin.

In most theories of the evolution of language, the focus has been on the evolution of linguistic form. But before there are words, there must be meanings to communicate. Thus questions concerning conceptualization, in particular how it could become more complex in coevolution of language and how concepts can be shared, are equally important.

The workshop deals with themes related to the evolution of semantics, the relations between language and culture, and the relation between linguistic meaning and other forms of meaning, for example music. Also problems related to how meanings develop in children and how the evolution of meaning can be modelled and simulated in artificial systems will be discussed.


Holger Diessel – Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

Peter Gärdenfors – Lund University

Luc Steels – ICREA at Institute of Evolutionary Biology (UPF-CSIC), Barcelona

Das Wir entscheidet. Neue Erkenntnisse zur Entstehung der Sprache (Frankfurter Allgemeine)

Access the article (German)

20 years later…

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 15.35.24


In september 1996, Luc Steels gave a talk at the KLI on ‘The origin of language’ at a meeting on the ’emergence and evolution of organization’ organized by Walter Fontana, Gerd Mueller, and Guenter Wagner. This incredibly interesting meeting was one of the first where he exposed a novel methodology for studying the origins of language, namely through experiments with artificial agents playing language games, and laid out some radical ideas about the nature of language and its origins based on self-organization and selection.

20 years later, on 15th Januray 2016, Prof. Steels is going back to KLI for an update on the situation with the workshop ‘Progress in studying language origins‘. What has happened since then? We have solid results on all levels of language (speech, vocabulary, grammar) and the principles of evolutionary biology, which themselves have advanced a great deal since that time, have been a constant source of inspiration. Today we need to apply these insights to many more areas of grammar, push further the study of evolutionary semantics, and communicate better what has been found so far.

If you missed it… watch now “Artificial Intelligence for War or Peace?” (Eng/Cat)

018 LC

In the catalan edition of renowned exhibition HUMANS+, offered in Barcelona until April 2016, we had the chance to hear some of the top scientists in Artificial Intelligence. In a series of debates, organised by ICREA, the speakers dealt with questions on the future of AI and humankind. The series were an utter success, but if you missed it now you have the chance to watch them again. We are happy to share with you a recording of Luc Steels’ talk, “Artificial Intelligence for War or Peace?”:


You can find the original version in English or choose “TRAD català” for the dubbed version in Catalan.



Do not forget to check the other speaker’s talks (Arcadi Navarro, Mel Slater…) here!

Een 3-ja​ri​ge is nog al​tijd slim​mer dan een robot (De Tijd)

Access the article (Dutch)

La inteligencia artificial puede ayudar al cambio climático (La Vanguardia)

Acceso al artículo (Esp)

La IA no es una amenaza, jamás podrá sustituir la inteligencia humana (Playground Magazine)

Acceso al artículo (Esp)

Computational Models of Language Evolution

Do you wonder things like…

  • …how a mobile robot self-organises a vocabulary?
  • …how robots evolve a language for color?
  • …about the first large-scale population experiment?
  • …about the origins and development of agent-based experiments?

If so, you need to download now the open-access publication series “Computational Models of Language Evolution”.

This series, edited by Luc Steels and Remi van Trijp, publishes high quality research using computational methods to investigate fundamental questions in the origins and evolution of language.

New monograph proposals are welcome!

Visit official website for download links and more information on forthcoming volumes.

THBooks-frontcovercatalog catalog michael remi

Fluid Construction Grammar as a Biological System

Mapping insights and frameworks from one scientific domain to another is often useful because it encourages communication between different scientific fields and acts as a conduit for the exchange of mathematical and computational tools. This paper introduces analogies between concepts and mechanisms from molecular biology and language processing, result of the collaboration  between renowned biologist Eörs Szathmáry and AI pioneer and linguist Luc Steels. The exercise to find such analogies is fraught with danger but also intellectually fascinating and potentially useful because it may give us new ideas on how language processing works and help to bridge the gap between functional mechanistic theories of language processing and their implementation by the brain.

The main purpose is to find ways for understanding language as a ‘living’, dynamically evolving, self-organizing system. The analogies have been the main source of inspiration for a computational implementation of construction grammar, called Fluid Construction Grammar (FCG). The paper describes briefly the biological analogies underlying FCG and discusses the opportunities for further research that these analogies open up.

Check this and other publications of Luc Steels here