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Entropy 2014, 16(5), 2789-2819; doi:10.3390/e16052789

Changing the Environment Based on Empowerment as Intrinsic Motivation

* ,
Adaptive Systems Research Group, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane,Hatfield AL10 9AB, UK
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 February 2014 / Revised: 28 April 2014 / Accepted: 4 May 2014 / Published: 21 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entropy Methods in Guided Self-Organization)
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One aspect of intelligence is the ability to restructure your own environment so that the world you live in becomes more beneficial to you. In this paper we investigate how the information-theoretic measure of agent empowerment can provide a task-independent, intrinsic motivation to restructure the world. We show how changes in embodiment and in the environment change the resulting behaviour of the agent and the artefacts left in the world. For this purpose, we introduce an approximation of the established empowerment formalism based on sparse sampling, which is simpler and significantly faster to compute for deterministic dynamics. Sparse sampling also introduces a degree of randomness into the decision making process, which turns out to beneficial for some cases. We then utilize the measure to generate agent behaviour for different agent embodiments in a Minecraft-inspired three dimensional block world. The paradigmatic results demonstrate that empowerment can be used as a suitable generic intrinsic motivation to not only generate actions in given static environments, as shown in the past, but also to modify existing environmental conditions. In doing so, the emerging strategies to modify an agent’s environment turn out to be meaningful to the specific agent capabilities, i.e., de facto to its embodiment.
Keywords: empowerment; intrinsic motivation; information theory empowerment; intrinsic motivation; information theory
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Salge, C.; Glackin, C.; Polani, D. Changing the Environment Based on Empowerment as Intrinsic Motivation. Entropy 2014, 16, 2789-2819.

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