Layered Social Agents in Automated Negotiation

This seminar took place through Zoom on March 11th, 2021 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm.
Presented by: Dr. Johnathan Mell, Assistant Professor, Computer Science Department and Learning Sciences Cluster, UCF



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Layered Social Agents in Automated Negotiation
Artificial Agents are increasingly interacting with humans on a daily basis. Whether they are personal assistants on our phones, customer service agents, or e-commerce bidding bots, these agents are becoming ubiquitous. Many of these tasks can be modeled as bilateral negotiations, and the agents that engage in them require advanced social intelligence. This talk explores an incremental roadmap to socially-aware agents, as a layered model that builds on simple agents to more complex ones that display individualized behavior and effectiveness over time. Also presented are empirical results of human studies on human-agent interaction, and a discussion on the future horizons of this burgeoning research community.



Dr. Johnathan Mell is part of the Learning Sciences Cluster at UCF, and a member of the Computer Science department. Johnathan has worked at the confluence of human factors, artificial intelligence, and negotiation for several years. He was previously affiliated with the Institute for Creative Technologies, at the University of Southern California, where he received his doctorate. He also has degrees in business and computer engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School. Johnathan has designed increasingly human-like computers for a variety of applications, both in research and industry settings, including a stint at Disney.
Johnathan’s current research focuses on the impact of social features of repeated negotiations with a computer partner. His work covers favor exchange, cross-cultural features, and temporal effects in an effort to make automated negotiators and emotive and realistic virtual characters. He is also interested in efficient designs for systems that are used by a non-AI "man behind the curtain", called "Wizard of Oz" systems. To investigate these questions, he has developed the IAGO platform, which serves as a framework for creating Virtual Agents that negotiate with humans.
Johnathan is published at AAMAS, IJCAI, AAAI, IVA, and ACII, and his IAGO platform was a finalist for Best Demonstration at AAMAS 2016. He is a member of the organizing committee for the Automated Negotiating Agents Competition (ANAC). He has previously worked on human interface and training platforms for Disney Engineering, and intends to continue his research at the intersection of entertainment, computation, and human interfaces.