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Proto-symbol emergence

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4 Author(s)
K. F. MacDorman ; Dept. of Syst. & Human Sci., Osaka Univ., Japan ; K. Tatani ; Y. Miyazaki ; M. Koeda

Robotics can serve as a testbed for cognitive theories. One behavioral criterion for comparing theories is the extent to which their implementations can learn to exploit new environmental opportunities. Furthermore, a robotics testbed forces researchers to confront fundamental issues concerning how internal representations are grounded in activity. In our approach, a mobile robot takes the role of a creature that must survive in an unknown environment. The robot has no a priori knowledge about what constitutes a suitable goal, what is edible, inedible, or dangerous, or even its shape or how its body works. Nevertheless, the robot learns how to survive. The robot does this by tracking segmented regions of its camera image while moving. The robot projects these regions into a canonical wavelet domain that highlights color and intensity changes at various scales. This reveals sensory invariance that is readily extracted with Bayesian statistics. The robot simultaneously learns an adaptable sensorimotor mapping by recording how motor signals transform the locations of regions on its camera image. The robot learns about its own physical extension when it touches an object, but it also undergoes an internal state change analogous to the thirst quenching or nausea producing effects of intake in animals. This allows the robot to learn what an object affords: is it edible or poisonous, by relating these effects to learned clusters of invariance. In this way primitive symbols emerge. These proto-symbols provide the robot with goals that it can achieve by using its sensorimotor mapping to navigate, for example, toward food and away from danger

Published in:

Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2000. (IROS 2000). Proceedings. 2000 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on  (Volume:3 )

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