Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Robot imitation as a method for modelling the foundations of social life

Robot imitation as a method for modelling the foundations of social life: a meeting of robotics and sociology to explore the spread of behaviours through mimesis

Here is the video, posted earlier this month by Frances Griffiths on YouTube, of the meeting of robotics and sociology I blogged about on 21st June. No need for me to write anything more - Roger Stotesbury's excellent 10 minute film explains the whole thing...


  1. What determines whether a particular behaviour or meme is disruptive or not probably depends upon its speed of propagation and its value (which could be utility or other kinds of value). The stability of the group mind will depend to some extent on the fidelity of communication, which is constrained by the limitations of sensors, the attention system and environmental distractions competing for cognitive resources.

    Where communication fidelity is high you'll probably get stereotyped behaviours which don't change much over time or only alternate between a few states. Where the fidelity is low each agent will just be behaving egocentrically. So there's probably a middle ground where the communication is adequate but also with significant imperfections - the edge of chaos - where you'll get a continual evolution of communication strategies.

  2. Thank you Bob for your very perceptive comments. I think you are absolutely correct that there must be a region or neither too much, or too little, variation for 'interesting' meme evolution. (I put interesting in quotes because in an open-ended evolving system there is surely no such thing as optimal evolution.)