Collaborating Authors

Emotion in Reinforcement Learning Agents and Robots: A Survey Artificial Intelligence

This article provides the first survey of computational models of emotion in reinforcement learning (RL) agents. The survey focuses on agent/robot emotions, and mostly ignores human user emotions. Emotions are recognized as functional in decision-making by influencing motivation and action selection. Therefore, computational emotion models are usually grounded in the agent's decision making architecture, of which RL is an important subclass. Studying emotions in RL-based agents is useful for three research fields. For machine learning (ML) researchers, emotion models may improve learning efficiency. For the interactive ML and human-robot interaction (HRI) community, emotions can communicate state and enhance user investment. Lastly, it allows affective modelling (AM) researchers to investigate their emotion theories in a successful AI agent class. This survey provides background on emotion theory and RL. It systematically addresses 1) from what underlying dimensions (e.g., homeostasis, appraisal) emotions can be derived and how these can be modelled in RL-agents, 2) what types of emotions have been derived from these dimensions, and 3) how these emotions may either influence the learning efficiency of the agent or be useful as social signals. We also systematically compare evaluation criteria, and draw connections to important RL sub-domains like (intrinsic) motivation and model-based RL. In short, this survey provides both a practical overview for engineers wanting to implement emotions in their RL agents, and identifies challenges and directions for future emotion-RL research.

Can a Robot Trust You? A DRL-Based Approach to Trust-Driven Human-Guided Navigation Artificial Intelligence

Humans are known to construct cognitive maps of their everyday surroundings using a variety of perceptual inputs. As such, when a human is asked for directions to a particular location, their wayfinding capability in converting this cognitive map into directional instructions is challenged. Owing to spatial anxiety, the language used in the spoken instructions can be vague and often unclear. To account for this unreliability in navigational guidance, we propose a novel Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) based trust-driven robot navigation algorithm that learns humans' trustworthiness to perform a language guided navigation task. Our approach seeks to answer the question as to whether a robot can trust a human's navigational guidance or not. To this end, we look at training a policy that learns to navigate towards a goal location using only trustworthy human guidance, driven by its own robot trust metric. We look at quantifying various affective features from language-based instructions and incorporate them into our policy's observation space in the form of a human trust metric. We utilize both these trust metrics into an optimal cognitive reasoning scheme that decides when and when not to trust the given guidance. Our results show that the learned policy can navigate the environment in an optimal, time-efficient manner as opposed to an explorative approach that performs the same task. We showcase the efficacy of our results both in simulation and a real-world environment.

Batch Recurrent Q-Learning for Backchannel Generation Towards Engaging Agents Artificial Intelligence

The ability to generate appropriate verbal and non-verbal backchannels by an agent during human-robot interaction greatly enhances the interaction experience. Backchannels are particularly important in applications like tutoring and counseling, which require constant attention and engagement of the user. We present here a method for training a robot for backchannel generation during a human-robot interaction within the reinforcement learning (RL) framework, with the goal of maintaining high engagement level. Since online learning by interaction with a human is highly time-consuming and impractical, we take advantage of the recorded human-to-human dataset and approach our problem as a batch reinforcement learning problem. The dataset is utilized as a batch data acquired by some behavior policy. We perform experiments with laughs as a backchannel and train an agent with value-based techniques. In particular, we demonstrate the effectiveness of recurrent layers in the approximate value function for this problem, that boosts the performance in partially observable environments. With off-policy policy evaluation, it is shown that the RL agents are expected to produce more engagement than an agent trained from imitation learning.

Active Learning for Autonomous Intelligent Agents: Exploration, Curiosity, and Interaction Artificial Intelligence

In this survey we present different approaches that allow an intelligent agent to explore autonomous its environment to gather information and learn multiple tasks. Different communities proposed different solutions, that are in many cases, similar and/or complementary. These solutions include active learning, exploration/exploitation, online-learning and social learning. The common aspect of all these approaches is that it is the agent to selects and decides what information to gather next. Applications for these approaches already include tutoring systems, autonomous grasping learning, navigation and mapping and human-robot interaction. We discuss how these approaches are related, explaining their similarities and their differences in terms of problem assumptions and metrics of success. We consider that such an integrated discussion will improve inter-disciplinary research and applications.

Speech Driven Backchannel Generation using Deep Q-Network for Enhancing Engagement in Human-Robot Interaction Artificial Intelligence

We present a novel method for training a social robot to generate backchannels during human-robot interaction. We address the problem within an off-policy reinforcement learning framework, and show how a robot may learn to produce non-verbal backchannels like laughs, when trained to maximize the engagement and attention of the user. A major contribution of this work is the formulation of the problem as a Markov decision process (MDP) with states defined by the speech activity of the user and rewards generated by quantified engagement levels. The problem that we address falls into the class of applications where unlimited interaction with the environment is not possible (our environment being a human) because it may be time-consuming, costly, impracticable or even dangerous in case a bad policy is executed. Therefore, we introduce deep Q-network (DQN) in a batch reinforcement learning framework, where an optimal policy is learned from a batch data collected using a more controlled policy. We suggest the use of human-to-human dyadic interaction datasets as a batch of trajectories to train an agent for engaging interactions. Our experiments demonstrate the potential of our method to train a robot for engaging behaviors in an offline manner.