Empowerment An Introduction

Arya MirAI and Robotics

Oct 8, 2013 (3 years and 1 month ago)


Is it better for you to own a corkscrew or not? If asked, you as a human being would likely say “yes”, but more importantly, you are somehow able to make this decision. You are able to decide this, even if your current acute problems or task do not include opening a wine bottle. Similarly, it is also unlikely that you evaluated several possible trajectories your life could take and looked at them with and without a corkscrew, and then measured your survival or reproductive fitness in each. When you, as a human cognitive agent, made this decision, you were likely relying on a behavioural “proxy”, an internal motivation that abstracts the problem of evaluating a decision impact on your overall life, but evaluating it in regard to some simple fitness function. One example would be the idea of curiosity, urging you to act so that your experience new sensations and learn about the environment. On average, this should lead to better and richer models of the world, which give you a better chance of reaching your ultimate goals of survival and reproduction.

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