Emergence of Structured Behaviors from Curiosity-Based Intrinsic Motivation

AbstractInfants are experts at playing, with an amazing ability to generate novel structured behaviors in unstructured environments that lack clear extrinsic reward signals. In this work, we seek to replicate some of these abilities with a neural network that implements a curiosity-driven intrinsic motivation function. Using a simple but ecologically naturalistic simulated environment in which the agent can move and interact with objects it sees, the agent learns a world model predicting the dynamic consequences of its actions. Simultaneously, the agent learns to take actions that adversarially challenge the developing world model, pushing the agent to explore novel and informative interactions with its environment. We demonstrate that this policy leads to the self-supervised emergence of a spectrum of complex behaviors, including ego-motion prediction, object attention, and object gathering. Moreover, the world model that the agent learns supports improved performance on object dynamics prediction, localization and recognition tasks. Our results are a proof-of-principle that computational models of intrinsic motivation might account for key features of developmental visuomotor learning in infants.

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