Traffic light control is one of the main means of controlling road traffic. Improving traffic control is important because it can lead to higher traffic throughput and reduced congestion. This chapter describes multiagent reinforcement learning techniques for automatic optimization of traffic light controllers. Such techniques are attractive because they can automatically discover efficient control strategies for complex tasks, such as traffic control, for which it is hard or impossible to compute optimal solutions directly and hard to develop hand-coded solutions. First the general multi-agent reinforcement learning framework is described that is used to control traffic lights in this work. In this framework, multiple local controllers (agents) are each responsible for the optimization of traffic lights around a single traffic junction, making use of locally perceived traffic state information (sensed cars on the road), a learned probabilistic model of car behavior, and a learned value function which indicates how traffic light decisions affect long-term utility, in terms of the average waiting time of cars. Next, three extensions are described which improve upon the basic framework in various ways: agents (traffic junction controllers) taking into account congestion information from neighboring agents; handling partial observability of traffic states; and coordinating the behavior of multiple agents by coordination graphs and the max-plus algorithm.
Recent progress in Artificial Intelligence, sensing and network technology, robotics, and (cloud) computing has enabled the development of intelligent autonomous machine systems. Telling such autonomous systems "what to do" in a responsible way, is a non-trivial task. For intelligent autonomous machines to function in human society and collaborate with humans, we see three challenges ahead affecting meaningful control of autonomous systems. First, autonomous machines are not yet capable of handling failures and unexpected situations. Providing procedures for all possible failures and situations is unfeasible because the state-action space would explode. Machines should therefore become self-aware (self-assessment, self-management) enabling them to handle unexpected situations when they arise. This is a challenge for the computer science community. Second, in order to keep (meaningful) control, humans come into a new role of providing intelligent autonomous machines with objectives or goal functions (including rules, norms, constraints and moral values), specifying the utility of every possible outcome of actions of autonomous machines. Third, in order to be able to collaborate with humans, autonomous systems will require an understanding of (us) humans (i.e., our social, cognitive, affective and physical behaviors) and the ability to engage in partnership interactions (such as explanations of task performances, and the establishment of joint goals and work agreements). These are new challenges for the cognitive ergonomics community. CCS CONCEPTS • Human-centered computing → Interaction design → Interaction design theory, concepts and paradigms;
In the light of ongoing progresses of research on artificial intelligent systems exhibiting a steadily increasing problem-solving ability, the identification of practicable solutions to the value alignment problem in AGI Safety is becoming a matter of urgency. In this context, one preeminent challenge that has been addressed by multiple researchers is the adequate formulation of utility functions or equivalents reliably capturing human ethical conceptions. However, the specification of suitable utility functions harbors the risk of "perverse instantiation" for which no final consensus on responsible proactive countermeasures has been achieved so far. Amidst this background, we propose a novel socio-technological ethical framework denoted Augmented Utilitarianism which directly alleviates the perverse instantiation problem. We elaborate on how augmented by AI and more generally science and technology, it might allow a society to craft and update ethical utility functions while jointly undergoing a dynamical ethical enhancement. Further, we elucidate the need to consider embodied simulations in the design of utility functions for AGIs aligned with human values. Finally, we discuss future prospects regarding the usage of the presented scientifically grounded ethical framework and mention possible challenges.
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