Considerations for Flexible Autonomy Within BDI Intelligent Agent Architectures

Marcus Huber

This paper discusses issues related to autonomy within BDIbased intelligent agent architectures and applications. One advantage that agent-based applications built upon formal theories such as BDI (Belief-Desire-Intention) theories have over standard application implementation paradigms is their explicit implementation of some of the mentalistic states, such as goals, that are typically associated with autonomy. To capture the intuition that autonomy represents independence from external influences such as other agents, we define autonomy as the level of separation between these external influences and an agent’s internal structures, considering not only goals, but also intentions, beliefs, and capabilities. Taking an existing BDI architecture (JAM) as an example, we measure the existing autonomy level for each of these attributes and then introduce and discuss ideas related to architectural modifications and programming practices that support flexible and perhaps dynamic modification of an agent’s autonomy.

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