We argue that the concepts of mechanism and autonomy appear to be antagonistic when autonomy is conflated with agency. Once these concepts are disentangled, it becomes clearer how autonomy could emerge from complex forms of control – especially, homeostatic regulatory systems. While research in AI and robotics would do well to continue incorporating biomimetic strategies, we propose that invoking models of allostatic mechanisms is a better way to understand how autonomy in artificial systems can be enhanced.
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