Evolution of neural complexity in division of labor tasks


We evolve artificial agents to perform a simple tracking task in three conditions: one individual (Isolated Condition) and two joint action conditions with division of labor. The joint conditions differ by whether two agents switch complementary roles during the task (Generalist Condition) or always play the same role (Specialist Condition). At the end of evolutionary runs we calculate the agents’ neural complexity using Tononi-Sporns-Edelman (TSE) complexity measure which relates to Integrated Information Theory (IIT). We show that (1) division of labor with specialization leads to a level of neural complexity comparable to the complexity of performing the same task alone, and that (2) both are lower than neural complexity when performing the task jointly with role switching. We further consider viewing collaborating agents as a single extended system and calculate its joint neural complexity. We demonstrate that contrary to our predictions, the same pattern of results, i.e., Generalists’ complexity being higher than Specialists’, holds also in this conceptualization.

Proceedings of the ALIFE 2021: The 2021 Conference on Artificial Life