Abstract for AISB 2000: How to Design a Functioning Mind

Abstract for the
Symposium on How to Design a Functioning Mind
17-18th April 2000
At the AISB'00 Convention

AUTHOR: Steve Allen
    German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence

TITLE: A Concern-centric Society-of-Mind approach to Mind Design

One of the challenges faced by researchers attempting to
understand the architectural requirements and trade-offs inherent
in the design of human-like minds, is the need to develop a
systematic framework in which to ask questions about the types of
internal state such minds can or might possess, and how those
different states interact. We have made some progress towards
this goal within the confines of the Cognition and Affect Project
at Birmingham University [Beaudoin 94; Wright 97; Complin 97;
Sloman and Logan 98; Sloman 99] - although a lot more work still
needs to be done as we attempt to bridge the gap between our
motivated agent framework and research carried out in other
disciplines involved in the quest for a better understanding of
the complexities of mind.

The first part of the paper provides a brief overview of the
three mains strands to our motivated agent framework: (a) at a
conceptual level we introduce the idea of the mind as a control
system, and representations as information-bearing sub-states of
that control system; (b) at an architectural level we describe
our three-layered agent architecture for elucidating the
structural and dimensional attributes of mentalistic control
states; and (c) at a methodological level we describe our
recursive "design-based" research methodology - wherein each new
design gradually increases our explanatory power and allows us to
account for more and more of the phenomena of interest. By
describing a variety of "broad-but-shallow" complete agents at
the information-level, and showing how these designs realise
mental states and processes, we aim to provide a rich and deep
explanatory framework from which to explore human-like minds.

The second part of the paper extends our framework by: (a)
arguing for a concern-centric stance to mind design; and (b)
providing an information-level design-based analysis of leading
theories of emotion - from the fields of computer science,
psychology, and neurology [Sloman 99; Frijda 86; Damasio 94;
LeDoux 96]. By mapping these theories onto our motivated agent
framework, we are able make explicit the different types of
information-level concern processes involved in the generation of
different classes (and sub-classes) of emotional state.

The last part of the paper describes a broad-but-shallow agent
architecture for elucidating emergent infant-like emotions. Our
design is based on Caņamero's [97] motivated society-of-mind
architecture - providing both a reasonable cognitive foundation,
and a flexible society-of-mind [Minsky 87] approach to mind
design. We extended Caņamero's original work by mapping it onto
our three-layered model and providing additional
information-processing agents to account for the different types
of concern processing mechanisms identified in the second part of
this paper. Finally, we discuss possible ways in which the
different competence levels of the architecture could co-evolve,
both during the evolution of the agent, and during the
development of the individual.


Beaudoin, L. (1994). Goal Processing in Autonomous Agents. PhD
Thesis, School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham.

Canamero, D. (1997). Modeling Motivations and Emotions as a Basis
for Intelligent Behavior. In Proceedings of the First
International Symposium on Autonomous Agents, AA'97, Marina del
Rey, CA, February 5-8, The ACM Press.

Complin, C. (1997). The Evolutionary Engine and the Mind Machine:
A Design-based Study of Adaptive Change. Ph.D. Thesis. The
University of Birmingham.

Damasio, A. R. (1994, 96). Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason and
the Human Brain. London: Papermac. (first published 1994, New
York: G. P. Putman's Sons.)

Frijda, N. H. (1986). The Emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.

LeDoux, J. E. (1996). The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious
Underpinnings of Emotional Life. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Minsky, M. (1987). The Society of Mind. London: William Heinemann

Sloman, A. (1999). Architectural Requirements for Human-like
Agents Both Natural and Artificial. (What sorts of machines can
love?). To appear in K. Dautenhahn (Ed.) Human Cognition And
Social Agent Technology, John Benjamins Publishing.

Sloman, A. and Logan, B. S. (1998) Architectures and Tools for
Human-Like Agents, In F. Ritter and R. M. Young (Eds.),
Proceedings of the 2nd European Conference on Cognitive
Modelling. Nottingham: Nottingham University Press, pages 58-65.

Wright, I. P. (1997). Emotional Agents. PhD Thesis, School of
Computer Science, University of Birmingham.


Steve Allen is a researcher at the German Research Centre for Artificial
Intelligence (DFKI) - one of the largest non-profit contract research
institutes in the field of software technology based on Artificial
Intelligence. He is currently researching the architectural requirements of
life-like characters (Avatars and Web agents) - specifically, the
integration of models of emotion and personality with more general
presentation planning techniques. His PhD research is being carried out
within the Cognition and Affect project at Birmingham University, under the
supervision of Professor Aaron Sloman. The aim of this research is to
investigate the types of cognitive processes associated with concern
processing in human-like autonomous agents (including human affective
processes) - centred around a "Society of Mind" agent architecture, and
focusing on the role affect plays in the communication between reactive,
attentive/deliberative, and meta-management layers.

Allen, S. (1999). Control States and Motivated Agency. In E. Andre (Ed.)
Behavior Planning for Life-Like Characters and Avatars: Proceeding of the i3
Spring Days '99 Workshop. pages 43-61. March 1999, Sitges, Spain.

Andre, E., Klesen M., Gebhard, P., Allen, S., and Rist, T. (1999).
Integrating Models of Personality and Emotions into Lifelike Characters. To
appear in A. Paiva (Ed.) Affect in Interactions Towards a New Generation of