Learning agents in Artificial intelligence

A learning agent can be divided into four conceptual components

The most important distinction is between the learning element, which is responsible for making improvements, and the performance element, which is responsible for selecting external actions. The performance element is what we have previously considered to be the entire agent: it takes in percepts and decides on actions. The learning element uses feedback from the critic on how the agent is doing and determines how the performance element should be modified to do better in the future

The last component of the learning agent is the problem generator. It is responsible for suggesting actions that will lead to new and informative experiences. The point is that if the performance element had its way, it would keep doing the actions that are best, given what it knows. But if the agent is willing to explore a little and do some perhaps suboptimal actions in the short run, it might discover much better actions for the long run. The problem generator’s job is to suggest these exploratory actions. This is what scientists do when they carry out experiments. Galileo did not think that dropping rocks from the top of a tower in Pisa was valuable in itself. He was not trying to break the rocks or to modify the brains of unfortunate passers-by. His aim was to modify his own brain by identifying a better theory of the motion of objects

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