The Small Loop Problem consists of implementing an artificial agent that would "smartly" organize its behavior through autonomous interaction with the Small Loop Environment shown in this video.
See our Small Loop Platform in NetLogo for a comprehensive explanation and illustration of this problem.
Our work thus far has only partially solved this problem. This video shows that Ernest indeed manages to learn to perceive its environment and to organize its behavior as we have demonstrated previously in this blog. Ernest, however, still does not manage to capture spatial regularities that would be required to "smartly" handle the passage in the upper-right corner of the loop.
While this problem may seem simplistic, we believe that it captures fundamental questions about self-motivation and early-stage developmental cognition. We suspect that the solution requires making the agent capable of some form of rudimentary reflexivity.