What kind of motivation drives child language development? This article presents a computational model and a robotic experiment to articulate the hypothesis that children discover communication as a result of exploring and playing with their environment. The considered robotic agent is intrinsically motivated towards situations in which it optimally progresses in learning. To experience optimal learning progress, it must avoid situations already familiar but also situations where nothing can be learnt. The robot is placed in an environment in which both communicating and non-communicating objects are present. As a consequence of its intrinsic motivation, the robot explores this environment in an organized manner focusing first on non-communicative activities and then discovering the learning potential of certain types of interactive behaviour. In this experiment, the agent ends up being interested by communication through vocal interactions without having a specific drive for communication
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