Is an embodied system ever purely reactive?

This paper explores the performance of a simple model agent using a reactive controller in situations where, from an external perspective, a solution that relies on internal states would seem to be required. In a visually-guided orientation task with sensory inversion and an object discrimination task a study of the instantaneous response properties and time-extended dynamics explain the non-reactive performance. The results question common intuitions about the capabilities of reactive controllers and highlight the significance of the agent’s recent history of interactions with its environment in generating behaviour. This work reinforces the idea that embodied behaviour exhibits properties that cannot be deduced directly from those of the controller by itself.

Izquierdo-Torres, E., and Di Paolo, E. A., (2005). Is an embodied system ever purely reactive? Advances in Artificial Life, Proceedings ECAL 2005, 8th European Conference, Canterbury UK, M. S. Capcarrere et al. (eds), Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, LNAI 3630, pp 252-261.

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