The Truman Show - For Real?

The BBC is reporting on a MIT professor who has decided to record every minute of his child's preverbal experiences. The technology used to support the recording of nearly 400,000 hours of information includes 14 microphones, 11 omni-directional cameras, and some serious hard drive space: over 350GB of compressed data are created every day.

Once recording is complete, automated data mining software will attempt to uncover the experiences that may have lead to his child's first words, or characteristic patterns of speaking. Professor Deb Roy has referred to this as the "Human Speechome Project" - covered in more detail in this CogSci conference proceedings paper.

The final step in this project is to develop a computational model of language acquisition that will match the child's performance as closely as possible, given the exact same input.

via Seed Magazine.


Blogger Bob Mottram said...

The production of data sets like this will be extremely useful to people studying early child development, and if enough similar data is collected for multiple children it should be possible to give some conclusive answers to age-old questions about how much is governed by environmental influences and and how much by phisiological maturation.

With three years of data it should be possible to plot the childs speech utterances as a dynamic system, and look for phase shifts which could mark critical periods of change. Psychologists might be able to use such information to help children with speech dissorders.

5/24/2006 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Dright said...

and every poop, too.

5/24/2006 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You still have to admit the crepiness of the whole project.

(Not that I wouldn't be fascinated to see the results).

5/25/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Coffee Mug said...

i predict that the picture will be obscured due to diaper-changing at the key moment of first speech production.

in fact, dan dright and i are writing a theoretical paper in which we use early 20th century psychoanalytic thought to show that bowel movement is a necessity for language initiation in infants and in which we coin the term "poorosis"..

5/26/2006 01:04:00 AM  

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