The problem with robots is that they only do what they are told to do by us humans. We invent programing languages, give them instructions, and they usually go off and do exactly what we tell them.

Not for much longer. A team in Australia has taught robots, called LingoDroids, how to use and invent spoken language. These LingoDroids move about on three wheels and map their surrounding area. After they discover a new area, they use a range of syllables to give it a name. They then go around finding other LingoDroids and, using their microphone and speakers, tell each other about the area they have mapped.

Pretty basic stuff, but a landmark event nonetheless. Language remains one of humanities deepest mysteries, and the question of where humans get the ability to acquire language is a subject that provokes massive debate.

The researchers hope that it will not be long before the robots are able to communicate with humans