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2018 JCR, Web of Science Group 2019

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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurorobot. | doi: 10.3389/fnbot.2019.00045

An embodied agent learning affordances with intrinsic motivations and solving extrinsic tasks with attention and one-step planning

  • 1Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (ISTC), Italian National Research Council (CNR), Italy
  • 2Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

We propose an architecture for the open-ended learning and control of embodied agents.
The architecture acquires action affordances and forward models based on intrinsic motivations and can later use the acquired knowledge to solve extrinsic tasks by decomposing them into sub-tasks each solved with one-step planning. An affordance is here operationalised as the agent's estimate of the probability of success of an action performed on a given object. The focus of the work is on the overall architecture while single sensorimotor components are simplified. A key element of the architecture is the use of `active vision' that plays two functions, namely to focus on single objects and to factorise visual information into the object appearance and object position. These processes serve both the acquisition and use of object-related affordances, and the decomposition of extrinsic goals (tasks) into multiple sub-goals (sub-tasks). The architecture gives novel contributions on three problems: (a) the learning of affordances based on intrinsic motivations; (b) the use of active vision to decompose complex extrinsic task; (c) the possible role of affordances within planning systems endowed with models of the world. The architecture is tested in a simulated stylised 2D scenario requiring to move or `manipulate' objects in order to accomplish overall configurations of the objects (extrinsic goals). The results show
the utility of using intrinsic motivations to support affordance learning; the utility of active vision to solve composite tasks; and the possible utility of affordances for solving utility-based planning problems.

Keywords: Open-ended learning, Intrinsic Motivations, affordance learning, goal-based planning, utility-based planning, Active-vision, Attention

Received: 28 Sep 2018; Accepted: 11 Jun 2019.

Edited by:

Alex Pitti, Université de Cergy-Pontoise, France

Reviewed by:

Frederic Alexandre, Inria Bordeaux - Sud-Ouest Research Centre, France
Benoît Girard, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France  

Copyright: © 2019 Baldassarre, Lord, Granato and Santucci. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Gianluca Baldassarre, Italian National Research Council (CNR), Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (ISTC), Rome, 00185, Italy,