Machine Language Evolution

When human populations grew large enough to divide up into different groups and spread around the world, they took their language with them. As generations passed and the various human groups spoke within their own groups, their language changed.

You could say the language evolved. But since its evolution took place in different environments, with different factors affecting each group of speakers, the first human language evolved into many different languages.

As speakers of Proto-Indo-European continued their lives in different places, the language changed. We can see similarities among those languages in groups of words like “father,” “padre,” “pere,” “pater,” “vater,” and “vader” — all words for “father” in various European languages.

Later, as speakers of those languages spread out, change continued, and we now have recognizably different varieties of English in the U.S., England, Australia, Jamaica, and South Africa, among other nations.

Machine languages have followed a different path. They didn’t arise naturally, but were planned and developed intentionally by humans with things like security on their minds. There was no reason, initially, to try to make the languages compatible with one another. The early machine builders didn’t foresee the need for machine to machine language.

Now, as IIoT and Industry 4.0 make the need for smart machines obvious, there’s a movement toward greater openness, shared source projects, and increased standardization. But in some cases the coming together of machine languages is turning up different language families and dialects, much like those found in human languages.

Consider PackML (Packaging Machine Language), increasingly an industry standard for packaging machines in particular. One of the earliest goals was to standardize packaging machines enough that no machine would require a specific field bus. Later, the industry developed naming conventions and data structure norms to keep inter-machine communication on track.

Within the packaging industry.

ISA-88, which is often described as a design process philosophy rather than just a set of standards, approved and incorporated PackML, but many of its users — including major multinational manufacturers — continue to use it and to think of it as the center of the packaging industry’s efforts at automation.

Even as thought leaders like Rexroth continue to work for standardization and unity among machine languages, millions of everyday workers continue to use their own industry’s specific languages, and their own company’s dialect of their local machine language. Something very like natural language change takes place under those circumstances.

We’re content (contentu, contenido, contenuto, cynnwys…) to watch and see what happens next on the road to smart factories. In the meantime, we should be your first call when you need Rexroth electric motion control systems support.

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