When the goal is to generate a series of activities: A self-organized simulated robot arm
Behavior is characterized by sequences of goal oriented conducts, such as food uptake, socializing and resting. Classically, one would define for each task a corresponding satisfaction level, with the agent engaging, at a given time, in the activity having the lowest satisfaction level. Alternatively, one may consider that the agent follows the overarching objective to generate sequences of distinct activities. To achieve a balanced distribution of activities would then be the primary goal, and
... not to master a specific task. In this setting the agent would show two types of behaviors, task-oriented and task-searching phases, with the latter interseeding the former. We study the emergence of autonomous task switching for the case of a simulated robot arm. Grasping one of several moving objects corresponds in this setting to a specific activity. Overall, the arm should follow a given object temporarily and then move away, in order to search for a new target and reengage. We show that this behavior can be generated robustly when modeling the arm as an adaptive dynamical system. The dissipation function is in this approach time dependent. The arm is in a dissipative state when searching for a nearby object, dissipating energy on approach. Once close, the dissipation function starts to increase, with the eventual sign change implying that the arm will take up energy and wander off. The resulting explorative state ends when the dissipation function becomes again negative and the arm selects a new target. We believe that our approach may be generalized to generate self-organized sequences of activities in general.