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Member Since 23 Jan 2011
Offline Last Active Dec 10 2014 05:28 PM

Topics I've Started

Figuring out economic problems

23 January 2011 - 02:05 PM

First off, I am an AI novice. I have researched FSMs, Hierarchical behaviors, and had my mind melted while trying to understand neural-nets. I have implemented FSMs (not hard) and am in the process of adding a few twists.

Here is my thought: I do believe that emergent patterns that mimic life-like behaviors can and will be produced from a basic simple ruleset. So, along these lines, I am trying to program an AI which, based on a basic Maslov Hierachy filtered through a set of variables which are particular for each agent (lazy-thru-productive, weak-thru-strong, stupid-thru-smart, cowadly -thru-courageous, follower-thru-leader, homebody-thru-adventuresome, favorites: color blue, forests> mountains, fish>meat>fruits>bread, etc,), and watch the agent 'live' in its virtual world, scratching out a meager existence and interacting with other agents. My biggest problem that I have encountered so far is in trying to determine which of multiple possible solutions to pick. I have some background in micro-economics and am trying to incorporate some of that into the decision process, so, one thought is to rate each possible solution based on an estimate of time it would take to complete it, weighted by the different categories of labor involved, and come up with a value which could then compare to other possibilities.

It would work like this: Agent A determines that it is hungry, and knows that it can fish in the nearby stream, or, go to a far tree to pick some fruit, and either method would satisfy its 'hunger' issue. It calculates the distance to the stream, an estimate of amount of time spent fishing modified by how much it 'likes' to fish, and then compares it to the same thing but the steps involved in picking fruit. OK, this works fine.

The problem I have is when economics and interaction with other agents occurs. Suppose all agents are willing to sell any object they possess if the price is higher than their cost to produce. And any agent is willing to buy if the price is less than their costs to produce. I am hoping that market prices will naturally arise from such a system, where the 'seller' initially offers cost + 100%, and the buyers initially offer cost - 50%.... and perhaps a short series of haggling in between until either both agree or decide not to trade. NOW, assuming that this 'price system' produces some sort of market prices, how in the world do I get Agents to take into account the possibility of purchase when making its decision on how to satisfy its hunger issue? I mean, its easy enough to compare to 'like' variables which describe the same 'units' like time and preference, if fishing takes 10 min and berry picking takes 5 minutes then perhaps the choice to fish only occurs if the agent 'likes fishing' sufficiently enough (twice as much?) as he likes picking berries... but what about going to market and buying the Fish? I can total up the distance to market, use the current market price for fish, even make sure that 'fish' are currently available in the market, but how do I equivocate in a money price into the equation?

Besides the interesting nature of the problem itself, the reason I am pursuing this line of simulation is that I feel that the future of MMO's will be entirely dependent on 3 main things: an AI living world that players can participate in (the Sims, Dwarf Fort, etc), a dynamic world which can be affected physically by players (Dwarf Fort, Minecraft, etc) and advanced user interface design (the Wii, virtual eyewear, Xbox Connix, etc). Ultima Online at its release WAS going to go down this path, but they got overwhelmed by a myriad of other unforeseen issues with player interaction which put the kabbosh on doing things like: the players decimate the local deer population (the current food source of the bears), and so the hungry bears start rampaging closer to town looking to players as a replacement food source.... I always was awe-struck by that sort of living, breathing environment.

Well, any comments or help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading my ramblings!