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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Inferring Actions, Intentions, and Causal Relations in a Deep Neural Network

  • Author(s): Juechems, Keno;
  • Saxe, Andrew
  • et al.
Abstract

From a young age, we can select actions to achieve desired goals, infer the goals of other agents, and learn causal relations in our environment through social interactions. Crucially, these abilities are productive and generative: we can impute desires to others that we have never held ourselves. These abilities are often captured by only partially overlapping models, each requiring substantial changes to fit combinations of abilities. Here, in an attempt to unify previous models, we present a neural network underpinned by the linearly solvable Markov Decision Process (LMDP) framework which permits a distributed representation of tasks. The network contains two pathways: one captures the desirability of states, and another encodes the passive dynamics of state transitions in the absence of control. Interactions between pathways are bound by a principle of rational action, enabling generative inference of actions, goals, and causal relations supported by gradient updates to parts of the network.

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