The influence of epistemology on the design of artificial agents

Minds and Machines 13 (3):367-395 (2003)
Abstract
Unlike natural agents, artificial agents are, to varying extent, designed according to sets of principles or assumptions. We argue that the designers philosophical position on truth, belief and knowledge has far reaching implications for the design and performance of the resulting agents. Of the many sources of design information and background we believe philosophical theories are under-rated as valuable influences on the design process. To explore this idea we have implemented some computer-based agents with their control algorithms inspired by two strongly contrasting philosophical positions. A series of experiments on these agents shows that, despite having common tasks and goals, the behaviour of the agents is markedly different and this can be attributed to their individual approaches to belief and knowledge. We discuss these findings and their support for the view that epistemological theories have a particular relevance for artificial agent design.
Keywords agent design philosophy  agent knowledge bases  autonomous agents  relations between philosophy and artificial intelligence
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