Can robots communicate effectively?

Does a robot have the necessary language skills to be able to have an effective conversation with a human or be able to communicate taking into account a current situation? We have our doubts about the abilities!

The voice from your sat-nav, the telephone switch board, Siri, Alexa etc are all examples of a robot, or computer, communicating with us. All goes well as long as we conform to a pre-determined pattern of behaviour e.g. telling the sat-nav your preferred destination, but what happens when the sat-nav is asked ‘how is your day?’ Do we get an honest and accurate answer dependent on its’ situation? Does it say if it has been sooo busy since 6am, for instance, when the first taxi driver that day started to use the cab. Or does it say that it has done nothing since we arrived at the current location two days ago? I think that the response, if any, might be a noncommittal ‘catch-all’ response like ‘good, how is your day?’

Why have we gone off on a tangent about robots communicating…? Well, we have some faintly funny, if not weird, communications from robots traveling around the web. Yep, most if not all of the comments here (comments section) would seem to be from robots. Worryingly, these are the some of the best and most understandable ones that we have received!

Most of these communications from robots don’t make any sense considering the subject matter of this site and the blog posts so far. Others would appear to be trying to be applicable to any blog and failing massively to be coherently relevant to any!

So, why have we kept them? Firstly, because we found the ‘responses’ to actually be strangely amusing. Secondly, to show a small fraction of the rubbish that is put out by robots or automated web robot programmes. Thirdly, to indicate a small illustration of the reasons why we will have one of those recapchta things for our comments section – the ones where you have to select all the goldfish in a picture or decipher a jumble of letters. Not because we like to make it difficult for any comments to be made but as a means of (hopefully) filtering the humans from the robots.

Can robots communicate effectively? Actually, we believe that it is possible and is becoming more likely and prevalent though must take quite a lot of computer processing power and advanced programming. As to whether a robot can ‘learn’ based on interactions (similar to how humans operate) is debatable – who read about the prototype chat-bot that was released and within 24hrs had the opinions of a far-right wing advocate (here) with a proficient ability to be abusive, swear and be generally obnoxious?

Say hallo to our future!


This has been a Hand Printed Photos production