The University of Sussex

“Value Signals” and Adaptation: An Exploration in Evolutionary Robotics

Marieke Rohde and Ezequiel Di Paolo

Pfeifer and Scheier write: “If the agent is to be autonomous and situated, it has to have a means of ‘judging’ what is good for it and what is not. Such a means is provided by an agent’s value system” ([8], p.315). What can it mean for a system to generate “values”? In this paper, we take a closer look at this question. A series of minimal evolutionary robotics experiments, in which an agent is evolved to generate a signal that corresponds to its level of performance, in analogy to the idea of a value system, is presented and discussed, pointing out the essential role of sensorimotor coupling for the integrated process of judgment. The emphasis of the discussion is on the relation between function and mechanism and aims at questioning our intuitions about value systems and the neural correlates of meaningful events and processes.

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