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).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ernest 10.1's activity traces

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Thanks to Pierre-Yves Ronot, we can now see Ernest's activity traces in real time.

In this video, the lower part of the trace shows Ernest's visual field. Visual pixels are represented as little rectangles when Ernest is moving forward, and as little trapezoids when Ernest is turning. Vertical red lines across the visual field indicate that Ernest is bumping into a wall. Blue circles indicate that he is eating a fish. The trace shows the different items in the environment going back and forth through the visual field as Ernest is moving.

We can see the initial phase of sensorymotor learning (steps 0-90) during which Ernest is often bumping into walls. Notably, his visual apparatus does not inform him about his distance to walls.

The line at the upper part of the trace takes the color of the item that recieves Ernest's current attention. This item of visual attention is also indicated by the "pie" in the local map as reported in the previous post.

For example, before eating his first fish, Ernest is distracted by other items (see steps 90 to 99). After having tasted a fish, however, Ernest focuses on fish whenever he sees them (steps 148 to 166).

Traces help us understand how Ernest sees his world. Ernest receives no other information from the world than that displayed in the trace. Traces also represent Ernest's experience that he encodes in his episodic memory. The encoding of experience in the form of activity episodes constitutes the base of Ernest's learning.

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