The study of imitation and other mechanisms of social learning is an exciting area of research for all those interested in understanding the origin and the nature of animal learning in asocial context. Moreover, imitation is an increasingly important research topic in Artificial Intelligence and social robotics which opens up the possibility ofindividualized social intelligencein robots that are part of a community, and allows us to harness not only individual learning by the single robot, but also the acquisition of new skills by observing other members of the community. After an introduction to the main research issues in research on imitation in various fields, we motivate the particular focus of this work, namely thecorrespondence problem. We describeAction Learning for Imitation via Correspondences between Embodiments, an implemented generic framework for solving the correspondence problem between differently embodied robots. Alice enables a robotic agent to learn a behavioral repertoire suitable to performing a task by observing a model agent. Importantly, the model agent could possibly possess a different type of body, e.g. a different number of limbs or joints, a different height, different sensors, a different basic action repertoire, etc. Previously, in a test-bed where the agents differed according to their possible movement patterns, we demonstrated that the character of imitation achieved will depend on the granularity of subgoal matching, and on the metrics used to evaluate success.In our current work, we implemented Alice in a new test-bed calledRabitwhere simple simulated robotic arm agents use various metrics for evaluating success according to actions, states, effects, or weighted combinations.We examine the roles ofsynchronization,looseness of perceptual matching, and ofproprioceptive matchingby a series of experiments. Also, we study how Alice copes withchanges in the embodimentof the imitator during learning. Our simulation results suggest thatsynchronizationandloose perceptual matchingallow for faster acquisition of behavioral compentencies at low error rates.Social learning plays a role as areplicationmechanism for behaviors and results invariabilitywhen the transmitted behavior differs from the model’s behavior, thus providing theevolutionary substrate for cultureand its pre-cursors. Social learning in robotics could therefore serve as the basis for culture in societies whose members include artificial agents. We address the use of imitative social learning mechanisms like Alice for transmission of skills between robots, and give first examples of transmission of a skill despite differences in embodiment of agents involved. In the particular setup, transmission occurs through a chain, as well as emerging in cyclic arrangements of robots. These simple examples demonstrate that by using social learning and imitation,cultural transmissionis possible among robots, even in heterogeneous groups of robots.
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DOI 10.1075/is.5.1.03ali
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