EMERGE is motivated and directed by the following goals:

  • To define and disseminate a new conceptual and ethical framework of collaborative awareness for multi-agent systems that surpasses the limitation of current definitions of global states of awareness;
  • To provide the formal, computational and technological tools to enable emergence, measurement and control of collaborative awareness in minimal collectives.
  • To deliver ground-breaking innovation in terms of enhanced capabilities, simplified configuration, improved performance, resilience, and interoperability of collectives.

EMERGE implements a clear research-to-technology pathway that will enable to surpass limitations and barriers of the current state-of-the-art multi-agent collaborative systems, with high-potential to produce breakthroughs and open new markets in the next generation of robotic systems, IoT and CPS, smart services, biomedical nanodevices, edge AI and neuromorphic computing.

The high-level EMERGE goals are broken down into the following specific measurable objectives:

Objective 1

Development of concepts and tools to measure the emergence of collaborative awareness.

EMERGE will capture how awareness emerges across a group of minimal units collaborating on a given task. The consortium will demarcate collaborative awareness from existing models of distributed and global awareness, and propose a dimensional model of collaborative awareness, inspired by new dimensional models of consciousness proposed for humans, and develop tools to assess the corresponding performance of various systems.

Objective 2

Establishment of ethical risks and vulnerabilities associated with emergence of collaborative awareness.

EMERGE will develop ethical guidelines based on a combination of philosophical and experimental methods and use them to monitor developments during the project and communicate with relevant stakeholders.

Objective 3

Development of a framework for articulating, recognizing, and embedding abstract awareness models.

The Consortium theorizes that awareness can arise from interconnections (Archetypes Networks) of building blocks (Archetypes). EMERGE will lay down the fundamental rules of this mathematical language by defining its minimal vocabulary and syntax. We will devise methods for translating the ideal dynamical mechanism of awareness generation into more complex structures implementable by Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), in the form of algorithms seeking the archetypes network that best describes a complex system (uncovering) and identifying CPS within a given category that best matches an archetypes network (embodying).

Objective 4

Development of an adaptation framework for Archetypes information processing.

Archetypes and Archetypes Networks will be used as elementary means of information processing and composed to realize a computational engine, the ACS. Existing computational building blocks (perceptual transformations, neural architectures) will be mapped into the ACS, but ultimately, EMERGE will target the composition of innovative information processing pipelines and computational architectures implementable outside conventional computing devices (e.g., neuromorphic hardware).

Objective 5

Development of methods to automatically engineer emergent awareness that can be monitored and controlled.

EMERGE will develop a method to engineer emergent awareness from interactions of minimal collectives using evolutionary methods driven by metrics of emergent awareness. The resulting awareness should be human-readable to enable monitoring and control of the resulting collectives.

Objective 6

Development of a technological toolbox for automatic design, monitoring, and control of emergent awareness.

EMERGE will develop a toolbox that allows engineers to go from metrics of awareness to minimal collective deployments where awareness can be monitored and controlled. The framework will be programming, device and collective agnostic with demonstrations on an existing digital twin and physical testbed for swarm intralogistics.

Objective 7

Promotion of research excellence, disseminating and communicating knowledge.

EMERGE will devise a clear communication and dissemination strategy that will spread and educate the public about the benefits and risks of emergent awareness and intelligent robotics for society. Bidirectional communication through workshops and focus groups will ensure public is consulted, technology is demystified, and outcomes benefit society.

Objective 8

Building of relationships with early adopters and end-users.

EMERGE will organise use-case demonstrations for end-users to highlight advantages and suggest applications in business settings. The consortium will also establish a network of contacts with companies in key areas of intralogistics, agrifood, biotechnology.