Learning to Play With Intrinsically-Motivated, Self-Aware Agents
Nick Haber · Damian Mrowca · Stephanie Wang · Li Fei-Fei · Daniel Yamins

Wed Dec 5th 05:00 -- 07:00 PM @ Room 210 #68

Infants are experts at playing, with an amazing ability to generate novel structured behaviors in unstructured environments that lack clear extrinsic reward signals. We seek to mathematically formalize these abilities using a neural network that implements curiosity-driven intrinsic motivation. Using a simple but ecologically naturalistic simulated environment in which an agent can move and interact with objects it sees, we propose a "world-model" network that learns to predict the dynamic consequences of the agent's actions. Simultaneously, we train a separate explicit "self-model" that allows the agent to track the error map of its world-model. It then uses the self-model to adversarially challenge the developing world-model. We demonstrate that this policy causes the agent to explore novel and informative interactions with its environment, leading to the generation of a spectrum of complex behaviors, including ego-motion prediction, object attention, and object gathering. Moreover, the world-model that the agent learns supports improved performance on object dynamics prediction, detection, localization and recognition tasks. Taken together, our results are initial steps toward creating flexible autonomous agents that self-supervise in realistic physical environments.

Author Information

Nick Haber (Stanford University)
Damian Mrowca (Stanford University)

Young children are excellent at playing, an ability to explore and (re)structure their environment that allows them to develop a remarkable visual and physical representation of their world that sets them apart from even the most advanced robots. Damian Mrowca is studying (1) representations and architectures that allow machines to efficiently develop an intuitive physical understanding of their world and (2) mechanisms that allow agents to learn such representations in a self-supervised way. Damian is a 3rd year PhD student co-advised by Prof. Fei-Fei Li and Prof. Daniel Yamins. He received his BSc (2012) and MSc (2015) in Electrical Engineering and Information Theory, both from the Technical University of Munich. During 2014-2015 he was a visiting student with Prof. Trevor Darrell at UC Berkeley. After a year in start-up land, looking to apply his research in businesses, he joined the Stanford Vision Lab and NeuroAILab in September 2016.

Stephanie Wang (Stanford University)
Li Fei-Fei (Stanford University & Google)
Daniel Yamins (Stanford University)

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