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Human-agent collectives

Human-agent collectives
Human-agent collectives
We live in a world where a host of computer systems, distributed throughout our physical and information environments, are increasingly implicated in our everyday actions. Computer technologies impact all aspects of our lives and our relationship with the digital has fundamentally altered as computers have moved out of the workplace and away from the desktop. Networked computers, tablets, phones and personal devices are now commonplace, as are an increasingly diverse set of digital devices built into the world around us. Data and information is generated at unprecedented speeds and volumes from an increasingly diverse range of sources. It is then combined in unforeseen ways, limited only by human imagination. People’s activities and collaborations are becoming ever more dependent upon and intertwined with this ubiquitous information substrate.

As these trends continue apace, it is becoming apparent that many endeavours involve the symbiotic interleaving of humans and computers. Moreover, the emergence of these close-knit partnerships is inducing profound change. Rather than issuing instructions to passive machines that wait until they are asked before doing anything, we will work in tandem with highly inter-connected computational components that act autonomously and intelligently (aka agents). As a consequence, greater attention needs to be given to the balance of control between people and machines. In many situations, humans will be in charge and agents will predominantly act in a supporting role. In other cases, however, the agents will be in control and humans will play the supporting role.

We term this emerging class of systems human-agent collectives (HACs) to reflect the close partnership and the flexible social interactions between the humans and the computers. As well as exhibiting increased autonomy, such systems will be inherently open and social. This means the participants will need to continually and flexibly establish and manage a range of social relationships. Thus, depending on the task at hand, different constellations of people, resources, and information will need to come together, operate in a coordinated fashion, and then disband. The openness and presence of many distinct stakeholders means participation will be motivated by a broad range of incentives rather than diktat.

This article outlines the key research challenges involved in developing a comprehensive understanding of HACs. To illuminate this agenda, a nascent application in the domain of disaster response is presented.
80-88
Jennings, Nicholas R.
ab3d94cc-247c-4545-9d1e-65873d6cdb30
Moreau, Luc
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Nicholson, D
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Ramchurn, Sarvapali D.
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Roberts, S
a517fb6d-5698-4560-a766-8ba5320504ba
Rodden, T
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Rogers, Alex
f9130bc6-da32-474e-9fab-6c6cb8077fdc
Jennings, Nicholas R.
ab3d94cc-247c-4545-9d1e-65873d6cdb30
Moreau, Luc
033c63dd-3fe9-4040-849f-dfccbe0406f8
Nicholson, D
282827e6-4b0c-4be9-866e-f8a8573e1736
Ramchurn, Sarvapali D.
1d62ae2a-a498-444e-912d-a6082d3aaea3
Roberts, S
a517fb6d-5698-4560-a766-8ba5320504ba
Rodden, T
8f77ed87-05f8-4117-8a56-6bed554fb222
Rogers, Alex
f9130bc6-da32-474e-9fab-6c6cb8077fdc

Jennings, Nicholas R., Moreau, Luc, Nicholson, D, Ramchurn, Sarvapali D., Roberts, S, Rodden, T and Rogers, Alex (2014) Human-agent collectives. Communications of the ACM, 57 (12), 80-88. (doi:10.1145/2629559).

Record type: Article

Abstract

We live in a world where a host of computer systems, distributed throughout our physical and information environments, are increasingly implicated in our everyday actions. Computer technologies impact all aspects of our lives and our relationship with the digital has fundamentally altered as computers have moved out of the workplace and away from the desktop. Networked computers, tablets, phones and personal devices are now commonplace, as are an increasingly diverse set of digital devices built into the world around us. Data and information is generated at unprecedented speeds and volumes from an increasingly diverse range of sources. It is then combined in unforeseen ways, limited only by human imagination. People’s activities and collaborations are becoming ever more dependent upon and intertwined with this ubiquitous information substrate.

As these trends continue apace, it is becoming apparent that many endeavours involve the symbiotic interleaving of humans and computers. Moreover, the emergence of these close-knit partnerships is inducing profound change. Rather than issuing instructions to passive machines that wait until they are asked before doing anything, we will work in tandem with highly inter-connected computational components that act autonomously and intelligently (aka agents). As a consequence, greater attention needs to be given to the balance of control between people and machines. In many situations, humans will be in charge and agents will predominantly act in a supporting role. In other cases, however, the agents will be in control and humans will play the supporting role.

We term this emerging class of systems human-agent collectives (HACs) to reflect the close partnership and the flexible social interactions between the humans and the computers. As well as exhibiting increased autonomy, such systems will be inherently open and social. This means the participants will need to continually and flexibly establish and manage a range of social relationships. Thus, depending on the task at hand, different constellations of people, resources, and information will need to come together, operate in a coordinated fashion, and then disband. The openness and presence of many distinct stakeholders means participation will be motivated by a broad range of incentives rather than diktat.

This article outlines the key research challenges involved in developing a comprehensive understanding of HACs. To illuminate this agenda, a nascent application in the domain of disaster response is presented.

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Published date: December 2014
Organisations: Agents, Interactions & Complexity

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 364593
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/364593
PURE UUID: da60a040-ef33-49e4-a593-776216d6311d
ORCID for Luc Moreau: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3494-120X
ORCID for Sarvapali D. Ramchurn: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9686-4302

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 01 May 2014 12:29
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 01:17

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