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The Origin of Artificial Species: Creating Artificial Personalities
05-16-2009, 03:55 AM,
The Origin of Artificial Species: Creating Artificial Personalities
The Origin of Artificial Species: Creating Artificial Personalities
May 15th, 2009
Via physorg , RIT Lab

Does your robot seem to be acting a bit neurotic? Maybe it’s just
their personality. Recently, a team of researchers has designed
computer-coded genomes for artificial creatures in which a specific
personality is encoded. The ability to give artificial life forms
their own individual personalities could not only improve the natural
interactions between humans and artificial creatures, but also
initiate the study of “The Origin of Artificial Species,” the
researchers suggest.

The first artificial creature to receive the genomic personality is
Rity, a dog-like software character that lives in a virtual 3D world
in a PC. Rity’s genome is composed of 14 chromosomes, which together
are composed of a total of 1,764 genes, each with its own value.
Rather than manually assign the gene values, which would be difficult
and time-consuming, the researchers proposed an evolutionary process
that generates a genome with a specific personality desired by a user.
The process is described in a recent study by authors Jong-Hwan Kim of
KAIST in Daejeon, Korea; Chi-Ho Lee of the Samsung Economic Research
Institute in Seoul, Korea; and Kang-Hee Lee of Samsung Electronics
Company, Ltd., in Suwon-si, Korea.

“This is the first time that an artificial creature like a robot or
software agent has been given a genome with a personality,” Kim told “I proposed a new concept of an artificial chromosome as
the essence to define the personality of an artificial creature and to
pass on its traits to the next generation, like a genetic inheritance.
It is critical to provide an impression that the robot is a living
creature. With this respect, having emotions enhances natural
human-robot interaction for human-robot symbiosis in the coming

As the researchers explain, an autonomous artificial creature -
whether a physical robot or software agent - can behave, interact, and
react to environmental stimuli. Rity, for example, can interact with
humans in the physical world using information through a mouse, a
camera, or a microphone, with 47 perceptions. For instance, a single
click and double click on Rity are perceived as “patted” and “hit,”
respectively. Dragging Rity slowly and softly is perceived as
“soothed,” and dragging it quickly and wildly as “shocked.”

To react to these stimuli in real time, Rity relies on its internal
states which are composed of three units - motivation, homeostasis,
and emotion - and controlled by its internal control architecture. The
three units have a total of 14 states, which are the basis of the 14
chromosomes: the motivation unit includes six states (curiosity,
intimacy, monotony, avoidance, greed, and the desire to control); the
homeostasis unit includes three states (fatigue, hunger, and
drowsiness); and the emotion unit has five states (happiness, sadness,
anger, fear, and neutral).

“In Rity, internal states such as motivation, homeostasis and emotion
change according to the incoming perception,” Kim said. “If Rity sees
its master, its emotion becomes happy and its motivation may be
‘greeting and approaching’ him or her. It means the change of internal
states and the activated behavior accordingly is internal and external
responses to the incoming stimulus.”

The internal control architecture processes incoming sensor
information, calculates each value of internal states as its response,
and sends the calculated values to the behavior selection module to
generate a proper behavior. Finally, the behavior selection module
probabilistically selects a behavior through a voting mechanism, where
each reasonable behavior has its own voting value. Unreasonable
behaviors are prevented with matrix masks, while a reflexive behavior
module, which imitates an animal’s instinct, deals with urgent
situations such as running into a wall and enables a more immediate

“Rity was developed to test the world’s first robotic ‘chromosomes,’
which are a set of computerized DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) code for
creating robots that can think, feel, reason, express desire or
intention, and could ultimately reproduce their kind, and evolve as a
distinct species in a virtual world,” Kim said. “Rity can express its
feeling through facial expression and behavior just like a living

As the researchers explain, each of the 14 chromosomes in Rity’s
genome is composed of three gene vectors: the fundamental gene vector,
the internal-state- related gene vector, and the behavior-related gene
vector. As each chromosome is represented by 2 F-genes, 47 I-genes,
and 77 B-genes, Rity has 1,764 genes in total. Each gene can have a
range of values represented by real numbers. While genes are
inherited, mutations may also occur. The nature of the genetic coding
is such that a single gene can influence multiple behaviors, and also
a single behavior can be influenced by multiple genes.

Depending on the values of the genes, the researchers specified five
personalities (“the Big Five personality dimensions”) and their
opposites to classify an artificial creature’s personality traits:
extroverted/ introverted, agreeable/antagonis tic,
conscientious/ negligent, openness/closeness, and neurotic/emotionall y

To demonstrate an artificial genome, the researchers used their
evolutionary algorithm to generate two contrasting personalities for
Rity - agreeable and antagonistic - and compare Rity’s behavior in the
different cases. Running the algorithm through 3,000 generations took
about 12 hours to generate a genome encoding a desired personality by
a Pentium 4, 2 GHz processor. For comparison, the researchers also
used manual and random processes to generate genomes with agreeable
and antagonistic personalities, though neither outperformed the
evolutionary algorithm in terms of personality consistency and
similarity to desired personality. Finally, the researchers also
verified the accuracy of the evolutionary genome encoding by observing
how the artificial creature reacted to a series of stimuli.

“The genome is an essential one encoding a mechanism for growth,
reproduction and evolution, which necessarily defines ‘The Origin of
Artificial Species,’” Kim said. “It means the origin stems from a
computerized genetic code, which defines the mechanism for growing,
multiplying and evolving along with its propensity to ‘feel’ happy,
sad, angry, sleepy, hungry, afraid, etc.”

As the researchers showed, a 2D representation of the genome can
enable users to view the chromosomes of the three gene types and
easily insert or delete certain chromosomes or genes related to an
artificial creature’s personality.

In the future, the researchers plan to combine the genome-based
personality with the artificial creature’s own experiences in order to
influence the creature’s behavioral responses. They also plan to
classify and standardize the different behaviors in order to
generalize the artificial genome structure.

More information:

Robot Intelligence Technology
Lab:http://rit.kaist. ArtificialCreatu res

Jong-Hwan Kim, Chi-Ho Lee, and Kang-Hee Lee. “Evolutionary Generative
Process for an Artificial Creature’s Personality.” IEEE Transactions
on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics - Part C: Applications and Reviews,
Vol. 39, No. 3, May 2009.

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