How a Minimal Learning Agent can Infer the Existence of Unobserved Variables in a Complex Environment

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Minds and Machines. Springer. 2023, 33, pp. 185-219. ISSN 0924-6495. eISSN 1572-8641. Available under: doi: 10.1007/s11023-022-09619-5
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According to a mainstream position in contemporary cognitive science and philosophy, the use of abstract compositional concepts is amongst the most characteristic indicators of meaningful deliberative thought in an organism or agent. In this article, we show how the ability to develop and utilise abstract conceptual structures can be achieved by a particular kind of learning agent. More specifically, we provide and motivate a concrete operational definition of what it means for these agents to be in possession of abstract concepts, before presenting an explicit example of a minimal architecture that supports this capability. We then proceed to demonstrate how the existence of abstract conceptual structures can be operationally useful in the process of employing previously acquired knowledge in the face of new experiences, thereby vindicating the natural conjecture that the cognitive functions of abstraction and generalisation are closely related.

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ISO 690EVA, Benjamin, Katja RIED, Thomas MÜLLER, Hans J. BRIEGEL, 2023. How a Minimal Learning Agent can Infer the Existence of Unobserved Variables in a Complex Environment. In: Minds and Machines. Springer. 2023, 33, pp. 185-219. ISSN 0924-6495. eISSN 1572-8641. Available under: doi: 10.1007/s11023-022-09619-5
BibTex
@article{Eva2023Minim-59940,
  year={2023},
  doi={10.1007/s11023-022-09619-5},
  title={How a Minimal Learning Agent can Infer the Existence of Unobserved Variables in a Complex Environment},
  volume={33},
  issn={0924-6495},
  journal={Minds and Machines},
  pages={185--219},
  author={Eva, Benjamin and Ried, Katja and Müller, Thomas and Briegel, Hans J.}
}
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