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Living machinesA handbook of research in biomimetics and biohybrid systems$
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Tony J. Prescott, Nathan Lepora, and Paul F.M.J Verschure

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199674923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199674923.001.0001

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(p.312) Chapter 33 Communication
Living machines

Robert H. Wortham

Joanna J. Bryson

Oxford University Press

From a traditional engineering perspective, communication is about effecting control over a distance, and its primary concern is the reliability of transmission. This chapter reviews communication in nature, describing its evolution from the perspective of the selfish gene. Communication in nature is ubiquitous and generally honest, and arises as much from collaboration as manipulation. We show that context and relevance allow effective communication with little information transfer, particularly between organisms with similar capacities and goals. Human language differs fundamentally from the non-verbal communication we share with other animals; robots may need to accommodate both. We document progress in AI capacities to generate synthetic emotion and to sense and classify human emotion. Communication in contemporary biomimetic systems is between robots in swarm robotics, but also between robot and human for both autonomous and collaborative systems. We suggest increased future emphasis on capacities to receive and comprehend signs, and on the pragmatic utility of communication and cooperation.

Keywords:   communication, control, cooperation, altruism, competition, signal, cue, swarm, human robot interaction, evolution

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