Title: Information, Intention, and Ability: Outline of a Unified Theory

Author: Eric Werner, Ph.D.

Contact: eric.werner@cellnomica.com

Abstract and Introduction

We outline a unified account of intention, information, possibility and ability. We present fundamental principles relating information to ability and possibility. A formal description of information is given that relates information to possibility reduction. We distinguish a theory of possiblity from a theory of ability or can. We define the semantics and investigate the logic of the modal auxiliary can. Next we show how information creates abilities. We then develope a formal theory of intentional states and then relate intention to ability. Finally, a unified view of the interrelationships among intention, information, possiblity and ability is presented.


Perhaps it is no accident that the field of distributed artificial intelligence must confront some of the most fundamental conceptual difficulties underlying the sciences. In the quest to design and build an artificial socially intelligent agent, that acts autonomously yet cooperatively, it might be expected that foundational issues of the most basic sort should arise. The concepts of information, possibility, ability and intention lie in the bedrock of science. These concepts are central to distributed artificial intelligence [Werner 88a, 89b, 90a, b], to robotics, to artificial intelligence and to the sciences in general. And yet, the meaning of these concepts and their interrelationships is still shrouded in mystery. In this paper we will attempt to clarify some of the basic relationships between information, capability and intentions. The emphasis is on the interrelationships abstracting away from the details.