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Enterprise AI

Generative and Embodied Cognitive Agents

Dr. Jagreet Kaur Gill | 30 January 2024

Generative and Embodied Cognitive Agents


Generative agents are software agents that use Generative Models to simulate human behavior. These agents can produce believable simulations of individual and group behavior. They can draw inferences about themselves, other agents, and their environment. They create daily plans that reflect their characteristics and experiences, act out those plans, react, and re-plan when necessary. Additionally, they can respond when the user changes their environment or gives them commands in natural language.  

To create Generative Agents, it is necessary to have an agent architecture that can store, synthesize, and apply relevant memories to generate behavior using a large language model. A generative agent architecture is a specific structure and design of models that can achieve extraordinary performance, but their reliability often needs improvement. These agents can benefit various fields, including the arts, education, commerce, government, and military applications. Some of the use cases of Generative Agents are:

1. In Legal Context

2. In Healthcare Context

3. In Education Context

4. In Welfare and Charity Context

Generative Agent Architecture  

Generative Agents are designed to function effectively in an unpredictable world by interacting with other agents and adapting to changes in their environment. These agents gather information about their current surroundings and experiences and generate behavior as output. To achieve this, they use a unique agent architecture that combines a large language model with mechanisms for synthesizing and retrieving relevant information to condition the language model's output. Generative LLM algorithms are utilized, often based on neural networks or probabilistic models, to generate synthetic data instances that resemble a given dataset. The main feature of generative agent architectures is their ability to produce unique outputs that share similarities with the training data without being identical copies.  

These mechanisms are necessary to ensure that the output behavior of a large language model is based on past experiences, does not draw essential inferences, and maintains long-term coherence. Generative Agent Architecture comprises three main components:  

1. Memory and Retrieval

The memory stream is a module that stores the agent's long-term experiences in natural language. A memory retrieval model incorporates relevance, recency, and importance to surface the necessary records to inform the agent's moment-to-moment behavior.  

2. Reflection

Reflection allows the agent to better guide behavior by synthesizing memories into inferences over time.  

3. Planning and Reacting

High-level action plans are created through planning by translating conclusions and the current environment recursively into detailed behaviors for action and reaction. These reflections and dreams are fed back into the memory stream to influence the agent's future behavior.  architecture-of-generative-agent-memory

Trustworthiness of Generative Agent Architecture   

The trustworthiness of Generative Agent Architecture can be enhanced by aligning goals with affordances and goal-directed perception.  

1. Designed Goals vs. Embodied Goals

Generative Large Language Models (LLMs) are designed to produce natural language output. However, using them for purposes they were not intended for can make them unreliable. For instance, using an LLM as an internet search engine can result in inaccurate answers. LLMs share different goals than humans regarding producing accurate output.

Learn more about Large Language Models

2. Affordances

Perceiving the environment based on how it can meet its needs is a widespread practice for humans and animals when solving a problem. For example, while grasping an object, one looks for specific features that aid in grasping. However, Language model systems (LLMs) can sometimes fail to detect the appropriate affordances that match the user's needs, especially when there is a mismatch between their goals and LLM design. Despite being generative at various language levels, LLMs can only sometimes help solve the problem that users present in the form of a prompt. This is because they can learn irrelevant associations during training and fail to detect the affordances of producing accurate output. For instance, LLMs can learn to write in a particular linguistic style. Still, they might only deliver accurate content if designed to detect the affordances of producing precise output. Our point is that generativity should operate on affordances because it is essential to meet the user's needs.  

3. Goal-directed Perception

Interacting with the environment is a complex cognitive process agents perform to achieve their goals. They only perceive opportunities that are in line with their goals and capabilities. Perception is not about discovering the intrinsic properties of the environment but rather about identifying properties relevant to the agent's current goal.    

A Large Language Model (LLM) is a generative mathematical model that analyzes the statistical distribution of tokens (words, parts of words, or individual characters) in a vast collection of human-generated text.

Embodied Cognitive Agents  

Embodied Cognitive Agents are intelligent entities with a physical presence, allowing them to interact with the environment through integrated sensory perception, motor skills, and cognitive capabilities. These agents simulate human-like interactions with the world, bridging the gap between perception, action, and cognition.  

The critical characteristics of Embodied Cognitive Agents are as follows:   

1. Embodiment

These agents possess a physical form, which enables them to perceive and manipulate the environment.  

2. Sensorimotor Integration

Integrating sensory information and motor actions facilitates adaptive responses to the surroundings.  

3. Goal-Directed Behaviour

Embodied Cognitive Agents exhibit purposeful actions driven by goals or objectives. 

Integration of Generative Agents and Embodied Cognitive Agents   

Generative agent architectures can be a part of the solution to developing artificial intelligence. However, as of now, they can only generate surface-level behavior regarding language production. They cannot create more profound levels of cognition, such as models of entities in the world and their relationships.  

Generative agents must be coupled with an embodied cognitive agent architecture to derive meaning from perceptions of goals and subgoal hierarchies.  

1. Embodiment 

It’s important to think about how an AI’s physical body and sensor-motor capabilities influence its goals and actions. A physical body can help an AI agent adapt to different environments and tasks. It can also help an AI learn from past experiences. 

2. Hierarchy

An AI system must incorporate various levels of abstraction and representation in its architecture. This includes both low-level sensory processing and high-level reasoning and planning. An AI system can effectively navigate complex and dynamic situations by implementing a hierarchy. It can also achieve sub-goals that contribute to its overall objectives.

Explore the use cases of Solution Architecture  

3. Constructivism

An AI agent's knowledge is not pre-determined but is built and updated through past experiences and new input. This approach can assist an AI agent in interpreting and explaining new and unfamiliar occurrences and amalgamating various sources of information.  

4. Situatedness

The cognition and behavior of an AI agent are not independent or isolated. It is influenced by the context and environment in which it operates. Being situated can aid an AI agent in responding suitably to changing conditions and coordinating with other agents.  

5. Generativity

AI agents are flexible and creative, with cognition and behavior that are not predefined but rather generative. This allows them to solve problems, generate novel ideas, and produce diverse outputs.  

6. Sub/Symbolism

AI agents should combine non-symbolic and symbolic approaches, such as neural networks and logic, to leverage the strengths of both systems. This combination can help AI agents learn from data and reason with rules.  

7. Learnability

AI agents should be capable of improving and evolving based on feedback and experience to adapt to new situations, acquire new skills, and optimize performance.

The Robotic Process Automation Center of Excellence optimizes resource allocation and automates future deployments. While it does minimize the need for human effort, it is important to note that it still requires human involvement.


In conclusion, integrating Generative Agents and Embodied Cognitive Agents is a milestone in developing more intelligent, adaptive, and human-like artificial intelligence systems. The research and development efforts in this area will likely result in advances in various applications, such as robotics, virtual assistants, and other areas where intelligent agents interact in dynamic and heterogeneous environments. In order to unlock the boundless possibilities of this integration, it is imperative to adopt a holistic approach that embraces multiple disciplines, encourages collaboration across different fields, and places a significant focus on ethical considerations.