Discussion papers

CPM-98-41 - 21 August 1998

The Evolutionary Emergence of Socially Intelligent Agents

A.D. Channon and R.I. Damper

A paper presented at the workshop on Socially Situated Intelligence, held at SAB’98, the Fifth International Conference of the Society for Adaptive Behavior, University of Zürich, 17 – 21 August 1998.

Published as: Cynthia Breazeal and Juan Velasquez (1998). Toward teaching a robot `infant’ using emotive communication acts. In Edmonds, B. and Dautenhahn, K. (eds.), Socially Situated Intelligence: a workshop held at SAB’98, August 1998, Zürich. University of Zürich Technical Report, 25-40.


Evolutionary emergence is the key to generating increasingly socially intelligent agents. In order to generate agents with novel behaviors beyond our manual design capability, long-term incremental evolution with continuing emergence within a social environment is called for. Purely artificial selection models are argued to be fundamentally inadequate for this calling and a new natural selection system containing simple virtual agents is presented. Each agent is controlled by a genetically determined neural network – controllers suited to both incremental evolution and the goal of intelligent behaviors. Resulting evolutionary emergent social behaviors are reported alongside their neural correlates. In one example, the collective behavior of one species clearly provides a selective force which is overcome by another species, demonstrating the perpetuation of evolutionary emergence via naturally-arising social coevolution.