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Living machinesA handbook of research in biomimetics and biohybrid systems$
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Tony J. Prescott, Nathan Lepora, and Paul F.M.J Verschure

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199674923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199674923.001.0001

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Decision making

Decision making

(p.264) Chapter 28 Decision making
Living machines

Nathan F. Lepora

Oxford University Press

Decision making is the process by which alternatives are deliberated and chosen based on the values and goals of the decision maker. In this chapter, we describe recent progress in understanding how living organisms make decisions and the implications for engineering artificial systems with decision-making capabilities. Nature appears to re-use design principles for decision making across a hierarchy of organizational levels, from cells to organisms to entire populations. One common principle is that decision formation is realized by accumulating sensory evidence up to a threshold, approximating the optimal statistical technique of sequential analysis. Sequential analysis has applications spanning from cryptography to clinical drug testing. Artificial perception based on sequential analysis has advanced robot capabilities, enabling robust sensing under uncertainty. Future applications could lead to individual robots, or artificial swarms, that perceive and interact with complex environments with an ease and robustness now achievable only by living organisms.

Keywords:   decision, perception, sequential analysis, decision making, evidence

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