Verschure, Paul


A forward model at Purkinje cell synapses facilitates cerebellar anticipatory control

Neural Information Processing Systems

How does our motor system solve the problem of anticipatory control in spite of a wide spectrum of response dynamics from different musculo-skeletal systems, transport delays as well as response latencies throughout the central nervous system? To a great extent, our highly-skilled motor responses are a result of a reactive feedback system, originating in the brain-stem and spinal cord, combined with a feed-forward anticipatory system, that is adaptively fine-tuned by sensory experience and originates in the cerebellum. Based on that interaction we design the counterfactual predictive control (CFPC) architecture, an anticipatory adaptive motor control scheme in which a feed-forward module, based on the cerebellum, steers an error feedback controller with counterfactual error signals. Those are signals that trigger reactions as actual errors would, but that do not code for any current of forthcoming errors. In order to determine the optimal learning strategy, we derive a novel learning rule for the feed-forward module that involves an eligibility trace and operates at the synaptic level.


Modeling Theory of Mind in Multi-Agent Games Using Adaptive Feedback Control

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

A major challenge in cognitive science and AI has been to understand how autonomous agents might acquire and predict behavioral and mental states of other agents in the course of complex social interactions. How does such an agent model the goals, beliefs, and actions of other agents it interacts with? What are the computational principles to model a Theory of Mind (ToM)? Deep learning approaches to address these questions fall short of a better understanding of the problem. In part, this is due to the black-box nature of deep networks, wherein computational mechanisms of ToM are not readily revealed. Here, we consider alternative hypotheses seeking to model how the brain might realize a ToM. In particular, we propose embodied and situated agent models based on distributed adaptive control theory to predict actions of other agents in five different game theoretic tasks (Harmony Game, Hawk-Dove, Stag-Hunt, Prisoner's Dilemma and Battle of the Exes). Our multi-layer control models implement top-down predictions from adaptive to reactive layers of control and bottom-up error feedback from reactive to adaptive layers. We test cooperative and competitive strategies among seven different agent models (cooperative, greedy, tit-for-tat, reinforcement-based, rational, predictive and other's-model agents). We show that, compared to pure reinforcement-based strategies, probabilistic learning agents modeled on rational, predictive and other's-model phenotypes perform better in game-theoretic metrics across tasks. Our autonomous multi-agent models capture systems-level processes underlying a ToM and highlight architectural principles of ToM from a control-theoretic perspective.


The Morphospace of Consciousness

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

We construct a complexity-based morphospace to study systems-level properties of conscious & intelligent systems. The axes of this space label 3 complexity types: autonomous, cognitive & social. Given recent proposals to synthesize consciousness, a generic complexity-based conceptualization provides a useful framework for identifying defining features of conscious & synthetic systems. Based on current clinical scales of consciousness that measure cognitive awareness and wakefulness, we take a perspective on how contemporary artificially intelligent machines & synthetically engineered life forms measure on these scales. It turns out that awareness & wakefulness can be associated to computational & autonomous complexity respectively. Subsequently, building on insights from cognitive robotics, we examine the function that consciousness serves, & argue the role of consciousness as an evolutionary game-theoretic strategy. This makes the case for a third type of complexity for describing consciousness: social complexity. Having identified these complexity types, allows for a representation of both, biological & synthetic systems in a common morphospace. A consequence of this classification is a taxonomy of possible conscious machines. We identify four types of consciousness, based on embodiment: (i) biological consciousness, (ii) synthetic consciousness, (iii) group consciousness (resulting from group interactions), & (iv) simulated consciousness (embodied by virtual agents within a simulated reality). This taxonomy helps in the investigation of comparative signatures of consciousness across domains, in order to highlight design principles necessary to engineer conscious machines. This is particularly relevant in the light of recent developments at the crossroads of cognitive neuroscience, biomedical engineering, artificial intelligence & biomimetics.


Modeling the Formation of Social Conventions in Multi-Agent Populations

arXiv.org Machine Learning

In order to understand the formation of social conventions we need to know the specific role of control and learning in multi-agent systems. To advance in this direction, we propose, within the framework of the Distributed Adaptive Control (DAC) theory, a novel Control-based Reinforcement Learning architecture (CRL) that can account for the acquisition of social conventions in multi-agent populations that are solving a benchmark social decision-making problem. Our new CRL architecture, as a concrete realization of DAC multi-agent theory, implements a low-level sensorimotor control loop handling the agent's reactive behaviors (pre-wired reflexes), along with a layer based on model-free reinforcement learning that maximizes long-term reward. We apply CRL in a multi-agent game-theoretic task in which coordination must be achieved in order to find an optimal solution. We show that our CRL architecture is able to both find optimal solutions in discrete and continuous time and reproduce human experimental data on standard game-theoretic metrics such as efficiency in acquiring rewards, fairness in reward distribution and stability of convention formation.


A forward model at Purkinje cell synapses facilitates cerebellar anticipatory control

Neural Information Processing Systems

How does our motor system solve the problem of anticipatory control in spite of a wide spectrum of response dynamics from different musculo-skeletal systems, transport delays as well as response latencies throughout the central nervous system? To a great extent, our highly-skilled motor responses are a result of a reactive feedback system, originating in the brain-stem and spinal cord, combined with a feed-forward anticipatory system, that is adaptively fine-tuned by sensory experience and originates in the cerebellum. Based on that interaction we design the counterfactual predictive control (CFPC) architecture, an anticipatory adaptive motor control scheme in which a feed-forward module, based on the cerebellum, steers an error feedback controller with counterfactual error signals. Those are signals that trigger reactions as actual errors would, but that do not code for any current of forthcoming errors. In order to determine the optimal learning strategy, we derive a novel learning rule for the feed-forward module that involves an eligibility trace and operates at the synaptic level. In particular, our eligibility trace provides a mechanism beyond co-incidence detection in that it convolves a history of prior synaptic inputs with error signals. In the context of cerebellar physiology, this solution implies that Purkinje cell synapses should generate eligibility traces using a forward model of the system being controlled. From an engineering perspective, CFPC provides a general-purpose anticipatory control architecture equipped with a learning rule that exploits the full dynamics of the closed-loop system.