How do robots in a collective know what the group as a whole is doing? How can connected devices make sense of the world around them with so many interconnections? How can a robotic arm composed of many independent parts understand how its body behaves as it reaches for an object? When intelligence is distributed across many parts, be they robots, devices, or objects, it can be tricky for the bigger picture to emerge. Yet answering these questions is key to making collective systems easy to understand, design, monitor and control.
The EMERGE project will deliver a new philosophical, mathematical, and technological framework to demonstrate, both theoretically and experimentally, how collaborative awareness – a representation of shared existence, environment and goals – can arise from the perceptions and interactions of individual agents, without leveraging a pre-existing common language between them. The EMERGE consortium is composed of teams at the University of Pisa (IT), Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (DE), Delft University of Technology (NL), University of Bristol (UK), and Da Vinci Labs (FR).
We will investigate how simple agents can develop a representation of their mutual existence, environment, and cooperative behaviour towards the realization of tasks and goals. This entails the development of concepts and tools to measure the emergence of collaborative awareness, and establishing the ethical risks and vulnerabilities associated with emergence of collaborative awareness.