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This volume describes Braitenberg vehicles. Braitenberg vehicles are conceived in a thought experiment by the author of this book to illustrate in an evolutive way the abilities of simple agents. The vehicles represent the simplest form of behavior based artificial intelligence or embodied cognition, (i.e. intelligent behavior) that emerges from sensorimotor interaction between the agent and its environment, without any need for an internal memory, representation of the environment, or inference. There are 14 vehicles in all -- a series of hypothetical, self-operating mobile machines that exhibit increasingly sophisticated behavior similar to that in the real biological or neuroscientific world. One might assemble Braitenberg's vehicles like cunning table-top toys that might look like the fantastic Albrecht drawings. Whatever their guise, they behave like living creatures, ranging from simple light-seeking automata to vehicles that an observing psychologist or philosopher might conclude were operated by concealed human beings. Each of the vehicles in the series incorporates the essential features of all the earlier models but represents an evolutionary advance to a higher plateau of complexity. Along the way, they come to embody the instincts of fight or flight, the characteristic behaviors impelled by love and by logic, manifestations of foresight, concept formation, creative thinking, personality, and free will. The author shows that these attributes and patterns of behavior can be internalized into machines using the simplest parts -- a collection of environmental sensors, some wheel-driving motors, various threshold devices, a few fictional (but logically and technologically plausible) components with special properties. The author locates many elements of his fantasy in current brain research in a concluding section of extensive biological notes.The aquot;vehiclesaquot; described in this light-hearted yet wonderfully skillful exercise in fictional science are the inventions of one of the worlda#39;s eminent brain researchers.

Author:Valentino Braitenberg
Publisher:MIT Press - 1986


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