An intelligent agent gets to interact with an environment. The agent can perceive the state of the environment through sensors and it can affect the state through its actuators. The challenge is to design the functions that maps sensors to actuators which is called the
control policy for the agent. In particular how can the agent make decision that it can carry out with its actuators based on past sensor data.
The loop of environment feedback to sensors, agent decision, actuator interaction with the environment is the so called
perception action cycle.