Commentary on 'Building machines that learn and think for themselves'

We agree with Lake and colleagues on their list of “key ingredients” for building human-like intelligence, including the idea that model-based reasoning is essential. However, we favor an approach that centers on one additional ingredient: autonomy. In particular, we aim toward agents that can both build and exploit their own internal models, with minimal human hand engineering. We believe an approach centered on autonomous learning has the greatest chance of success as we scale toward real-world complexity, tackling domains for which ready-made formal models are not available. Here, we survey several important examples of the progress that has been made toward building autonomous agents with human-like abilities, and highlight some outstanding challenges.

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