Abstraction in decision-makers with limited information processing capabilities

16 Dec 2013  ·  Tim Genewein, Daniel A. Braun ·

A distinctive property of human and animal intelligence is the ability to form abstractions by neglecting irrelevant information which allows to separate structure from noise. From an information theoretic point of view abstractions are desirable because they allow for very efficient information processing. In artificial systems abstractions are often implemented through computationally costly formations of groups or clusters. In this work we establish the relation between the free-energy framework for decision making and rate-distortion theory and demonstrate how the application of rate-distortion for decision-making leads to the emergence of abstractions. We argue that abstractions are induced due to a limit in information processing capacity.

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