Biological and artificial agents are motivated to seek reward. However, biological agents in particular display intrinsic motivation to explore. For example, they explore novel objects regardless of their task relevance, and they are often motivated to gain advance information about the future, even in situations in which this information may not be used to maximize their reward rates. I will discuss the neuronal mechanisms of these intrinsic drives and speculate how we can utilize biology to optimize machines (for additional references see Monosov, 2020, Trends in Neuroscience).
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