Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
Randomized Binary Consensus with Faulty Agents
Previous Article in Journal
Market Efficiency, Roughness and Long Memory in PSI20 Index Returns: Wavelet and Entropy Analysis
Previous Article in Special Issue
Action-Amplitude Approach to Controlled Entropic Self-Organization
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Entropy 2014, 16(5), 2789-2819;

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)
Full-Text   |   PDF [1413 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]   |  


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. View Full-Text
Keywords: empowerment; intrinsic motivation; information theory empowerment; intrinsic motivation; information theory

Graphical abstract

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

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

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Entropy EISSN 1099-4300 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top