How Morphological Computation shapes Integrated Information in Embodied Agents

08/02/2021
by   Carlotta Langer, et al.
0

The Integrated Information Theory provides a quantitative approach to consciousness and can be applied to neural networks. An embodied agent controlled by such a network influences and is being influenced by its environment. This involves, on the one hand, morphological computation within goal directed action and, on the other hand, integrated information within the controller, the agent's brain. In this article, we combine different methods in order to examine the information flows among and within the body, the brain and the environment of an agent. This allows us to relate various information flows to each other. We test this framework in a simple experimental setup. There, we calculate the optimal policy for goal-directed behavior based on the "planning as inference" method, in which the information-geometric em-algorithm is used to optimize the likelihood of the goal. Morphological computation and integrated information are then calculated with respect to the optimal policies. Comparing the dynamics of these measures under changing morphological circumstances highlights the antagonistic relationship between these two concepts. The more morphological computation is involved, the less information integration within the brain is required. In order to determine the influence of the brain on the behavior of the agent it is necessary to additionally measure the information flow to and from the brain.

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