October 15, 2007

Institutional Robotics: what's that?

A new strategy to conceptualize multi-robot systems is suggested:
Institutional Robotics, which takes institutions as the main tool of social life of robots with bounded rationality and bounded autonomy.

- The control system for a robotic collective is a network of institutions
- Institutions: mental constructs or/and material objects: organizations, teams, conventions, norms, roles, behavioural routines, stereotyped ways of sensing and interpret, material artefacts
- Enforcement mechanisms (fines, reputation)
- Every agent is linked to some nodes of the institutional network. Access to resources and decision making processes depend on institutional links.
- Agents disconnected from all institutions are just aspects of material world
- The institutional environment is a mix of inherited and newly adopted forms

- Robots are able to modify at some extent the material organization of their physical world
- Some material objects implement aspects of collective order
- Robots struggle for survival (energy)
- Built-in reactive behaviours, routines, and deliberative competences.
- Robots have partial models of internal mechanisms; some can be accessed.
- Robots have names

- Partial models of physical and/or social world are special kind of institution
- Collective world modelling (co-operative perception)
- Functioning of agents’ sensorial apparatus modulated by links to institutions
- Inaccuracies in world models result from objective or subjective factors:
”opinions”: individual deviation from world models provided by institutions
”ideology”: set of ”opinions” “offered” by an institution to agents prone to adhere
- “Opinions” and ”ideologies” affect behaviour

- Decision-making processes are a special kind of institution (co-operative decision-making)
- Institutional building: robots can deliberately set up new institutions
- “Institutional imagination”: robots conceive alternative institutions
- Emergence:
accumulating small modifications modify institutions without deliberation;
unused institutions fade away

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