A Logical System of Emotional Desire

We can design machines to help us accomplish our goals, but can we make these machines share our feeling of desire for the goal, or are they only able to mindlessly execute instructions? I believe we can and will describe how such a mechanism might work.

Test Environment

For easy experimentation and examples, I have created a universe with a very few, simple rules. Every turn in this world gives a 50% chance of a resource appearing close by and a 50% chance of one appearing just out of reach. Click on the New Turn button a few times for an example of how this works.

Resource close by: , Resource distant:


My goal is to design a creature to gather as many resources as possible.

I call this little guy "Bitey". To have behavior, it requires a process to associate an action to sensory situations. We can implement this using a simple behavior table.


(Sensor C, F)
Action: Parameter

Clicking on the New Turn button will cause this table to respond with an appropriate action. Try it a few times.

This is a good system that works well in a rigid and predictable environment. But if we want our creation to be flexible enough to adapt its behavior to a variety of environments, it will need to be able to feel the difference between what we (its creator) choose to be good and bad outcomes, and have the ability to change its own behavior to increase good feelings and decrease bad ones.

Next Page: Subjective Senses