|Intelligent Systems And Their Societies||Walter Fritz|
As the End of a Process
From the perspective of an IS (intelligent system), an action is the final part of a long process. This process starts with the IS obtaining information from its senses, continues with the creation of a present situation, continues with the selection of an adequate response rule, and finally comes around full circle as an action is performed as the response part of that selected response rule.
The action "causes " a transformation
An action changes the present situation into a future situation. A useful and accurate way to represent this is with a mathematical representation. The following is one example of what a formula for this relationship might look like:
|A(St) = S(t+1)|
Where A is an action, t is time and S is a situation.
The Action As A Communication
For humans, communication via speech is a very important form of action. Sometimes we use it to communicate concepts and at other times to get another person to act. Through words, one person can obtain an action by another, for instance by showing that the action is really to its advantage (should be its sub-objective). Sometimes person "A" requests an action by person "B" while promising a future action that will be favorable to "B". For instance a mother promises ice cream to her child, if it behaves itself at the dentist.
Classification Of Actions
We can classify an action as a cooperation, as neutral, or as an attack. A cooperation is an action by an IS, helping another to reach its objectives (this normally is mutual). An attack is an action by one IS which hinders another in its attempts to reach its objectives. Also this is normally mutual: it results in reciprocal attacks, or a fight. A neutral action is one that does not affect any other ISs or helps them as much as it hinders them.
Long Term Effects Of Actions
It is also interesting to observe that the effect of most actions diminish with time (sometimes with much time): After a certain amount of time, the environment will be just as if this particular action had never occurred. For instance, just for fun we throw a stone. Normally, after a week, nobody, ourselves included, remembers the event. At most levels of perspective, the environment is just as if we hadn't thrown the stone. Likewise, consider the invention (a creative or imaginative action) of horse tramways. This invention once greatly helped people get to work. Today, none exist; and in a few thousand years, nobody will even remember them. The world will be the same; whether they had existed or not.
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