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I am interested in the emergence of properties in agents, and, more generally in robotics.

I was wondering if there is work on the emergence of time-related concepts, on the low-level representation of notions like before and after. I know, for example, that there is work on the emergence of spatial representation (similar to knn), or even communication* but time seems to be a tricky concept.

This has everything to do with the platform, i.e. the way that the representation would be coded in. We tend to favour ways that have some meaning or somehow mimic natural, well, yes, human structures, like the brain. I am not a neuroscientist and do not know that the sense of time looks like in humans, or if it is even present in other living beings.

Is there some work on the (emergence of the) representation of time in artificial agents?


*I remember watching a really cool... Actually creepy video from these robots but cannot find it anymore. Does anyone have the link at hand?

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  • $\begingroup$ The title is a bit confusing. Could you rephrase it? Also, do you mean explicit or implicit representation of time? Digging memory, but there is work around that! (I first thought about branching-time logic, but it is not emergent). $\endgroup$ – Eric Platon Aug 3 '16 at 6:43
  • $\begingroup$ @EricPlaton I wanted to rephrase, but am short of inspiration :P Got any suggestions? $\endgroup$ – Luis Aug 5 '16 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand the question. Time is just the perception of change. How can a thinking thing do anything other than perceive change? A recognition of a "rate of change" seems to be implicit in all things that deal with change, right? $\endgroup$ – Doxosophoi Sep 3 '16 at 1:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Doxosophoi I agree with the perception of change only partially: If I see a photo of two cakes and then another one with only one cake, I wouldn't know which one was first (or if they are the same cakes at all). $\endgroup$ – Luis Sep 3 '16 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Luis We feed cake pictures to agents in chronological order. Otherwise our cake-bots will never learn to bake cakes. In what sense is time not implicit in any given interactive agent? $\endgroup$ – Doxosophoi Sep 3 '16 at 21:50
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To my knowledge, this is very much an open research issue.

Here is a paper by Prof Leslie Smith, an acknowledged expert on neuromorphic perceptual coding, which explains the importance of the notion of perceptual time for Artificial General Intelligence and sketches an architecture from which a notion of 'now' might emerge: Perceptual Time.

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    $\begingroup$ Just had a first look at the paper, looks interesting! I'm leaving the question open for a while, I'm sure there will be some other people stumbling around ;) $\endgroup$ – Luis Aug 5 '16 at 14:53

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