Olivier Georgeon's research blog—also known as the story of little Ernest, the developmental agent.

Keywords: situated cognition, constructivist learning, intrinsic motivation, bottom-up self-programming, individuation, theory of enaction, developmental learning, artificial sense-making, biologically inspired cognitive architectures, agnostic agents (without ontological assumptions about the environment).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ernest 4.3

video
Ernest 4.3 is the same as Ernest 4.2, except that he can do three different things: go ahead, rotate right, and rotate left. This allows him to explore his new 2-dimension environment. Like Ernest 4.2, he can only perceive two things: bump and non-bump.

See how fast he learns a smart strategy to avoid bumping into walls: keeping spinning on himself. Like before, he is able to learn second order schemas, but in this environment, there is no need to enact them. In this example, keeping doing primary schema S35 gives him a Yahoo! each time.

Interestingly, the number of schemas he constructs per cycle does not grow with the environment complexity. It actually grows with Ernest's own complexity, proportionally to the number of elementary actions he is able to perform multiplied by the number of elementary sensations he is able to perceive. Hence, the complexity remains under control, and there will be no combinatorial explosion when the environment complexity increases.

The time needed to explore the environment would however grow with the environment complexity. This raises the interesting question of Ernest's “education”, that is, designing “pedagogical” situations where he could more easily learn lower-level schemas, on which higher-level schemas could anchor.

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