Time for a Good Argument
Chris Reed, University of Dundee, United Kingdom
Joseph Halpern, Cornell University, United States
On Human-Agent Collectives
Nick Jennings, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Computational Logic as an Intelligent Agent’s Language of Thought
Robert Kowalski, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
Time for a Good Argument
University of Dundee
Chris Reed is Professor of Computer Science and Philosophy at the University of Dundee in Scotland, where he heads the Centre for Argument Technology (arg-tech.org). Chris has been working at the overlap between argumentation theory and artificial intelligence for two decades and specialises in the theory, practice and commercialisation of argument technology. He has won over £5m of funding from government, charity and commercial sources, has over 130 peer-reviewed papers in the area including five books, and has served as a director of several technology companies. He has also been instrumental in the development of the Argument Interchange Format, an international standard for computational work in the area; he is spear-heading the major engineering effort behind the Argument Web; and he is a founding editor of the Journal of Argument & Computation.
Argument and debate form cornerstones of civilised society and of intellectual life. Processes of argumentation run our governments, structure scientific endeavour and frame religious belief. As online interaction usurps many traditional forms of interaction and communication, we would hope to see these processes alive and well on the web. But we do not. Current mechanisms for online interaction hamper and discourage debate; they facilitate poor quality argument; and they allow fuzzy thinking to go unchecked. Meanwhile, these same online resources are increasingly being trusted and adopted with little critical reflection. To address the problem, we need new tools, new systems and new standards engineered into the heart of the internet to encourage debate, to facilitate good argument, and to promote a new online critical literacy. This is the goal of the World Wide Argument Web which brings together the architectural advances of Web 2.0 and the representational advances made by the Semantic Web research community, and unites them with new, linguistically- and philosophically- grounded models of argument such as Inference Anchoring Theory, in order to deliver a new vision of online discussion. It's time for some good argument.
Joseph Halpern received a B.Sc. in mathematics from the University of Toronto in 1975 and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard in 1981. In between, he spent two years as the head of the Mathematics Department at Bawku Secondary School, in Ghana. After a year as a visiting scientist at MIT, he joined the IBM Almaden Research Center in 1982, where he remained until 1996, also serving as a consulting professor at Stanford. In 1996, he joined the CS Department at Cornell, and is now department chair.
Halpern's major research interests are in reasoning about knowledge and uncertainty, security, distributed computation, decision theory, and game theory. Together with his former student, Yoram Moses, he pioneered the approach of applying reasoning about knowledge to analyzing distributed protocols and multi-agent systems. He has coauthored 6 patents, two books ("Reasoning About Knowledge" and "Reasoning about Uncertainty"), and over 300 technical publications.
Halpern is a Fellow of AAAI, AAAS, ACM, IEEE, and SEAT (Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory). Among other awards, he received the ACM SIGART Autonomous Agents Research Award in 2011, the Dijkstra Prize in 2009, the ACM/AAAI Newell Award in 2008, the Godel Prize in 1997, was a Guggenheim Fellow in2001-02, and a Fulbright Fellow in 2001-02 and 2009-10. Two of his papers have won best-paper prizes at IJCAI (1985 and 1991), and another two received best-paper awards at the Knowledge Representation and Reasoning Conference (2006 and 2012). He was editor-in-chief of the Journal of the ACM (1997-2003) and has been program chair of a number of conferences, including the Symposium on Theory in Computing (STOC), Logic in Computer Science (LICS), Uncertainty in AI (UAI), Principles of Distributed Computing (PODC), and Theoretical Aspects of Rationality and Knowledge (TARK).
We introduce language-based games, based on the thesis that an agent's utility depends on features that are describable in some language. By choosing the right language, we can capture psychological games [Geanakpolos, Pearce, and Stachetti] and reference-dependent preference [Koszegi and Rabin]. Of special interest are languages that can express only coarse beliefs (e.g., the probability of an event is "high" or "low", rather than "the probability is .628"). By assuming that an agent's preferences depend only what is true in a coarse language, we show that we can deal in an intuitively satisfactory way with a number of well-known paradoxes in the literature, including the Allais paradox. Despite the expressive power of the approach, we show that it can describe games in a simple, natural way. Nash equilibrium and rationalizability are generalized to this setting; Nash equilibrium is shown not to exist in general, while the existence of rationalizable strategies is proved under mild conditions (that depend on features of the language).
On Human-Agent Collectives
University of Southampton
Professor Jennings is a Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government and the inaugural Regius Professor of Computer Science in Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton University. He is also an advisor to aerogility.
Nick heads the Agents, Interaction and Complexity Group and is an internationally-recognised authority in the areas of agent-based computing, autonomous systems and intelligent systems. His research covers both the science and the engineering of such systems. Specifically, he has undertaken fundamental research on automated bargaining, auctions, mechanism design, trust and reputation, coalition formation and crowd sourcing. He has also pioneered the application of multi-agent technology; developing some of the first real-world systems (in domains such as business process management, energy systems/smart grid, sensor networks, disaster response, telecommunications, and eDefence) and generally advocating the area of agent-oriented software engineering.
In undertaking this research, he has attracted grant income of over £23M (mainly from EPSRC), published more than 500 articles (with some 300 co-authors) and graduated 40 PhD students (including two winners and one runner-up of the BCS/CPHC Distinguished Dissertation Award). He is recognised as highly cited by ISI Web of Science in both the Engineering and the Computer Science categories. With 55,000 citations in Google Scholar, he is the second most highly cited researcher in the area of artificial intelligence (according to Microsoft's Academic Search system) and has an h-index of 103 (the third top non-American according to Palsberg). He has received a number of international awards for his research: the Computers and Thought Award (the premier award for a young AI scientist and the first European-based recipient in the Award's 30 year history), the ACM Autonomous Agents Research Award and an IEE Achievement Medal. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the British Computer Society, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (formerly the IEE), the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB), the German AI Institute (DFKI) and the European Artificial Intelligence Association (ECCAI) and a member of Academia Europaea and the UK Computing Research Committee (UKCRC).
Nick was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems and a founding director of the International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems. He has also led teams that have won competitions in the areas of: the Iterated Prisoners' Dilemma (the 20th Anniversary competitions in 2004 and 2005), RoboCup Rescue (the Infrastructure competition in 2007), Agent Trust and Reputation (the ART competitions in 2006 and 2007), the Lemonade Stand Game (2009 and 2010), competing marketplaces (2007), and technology-mediated social mobilization and rapid information gathering (the US Department of State's TAG Challenge in 2012).
As computation increasingly pervades the world around us, it will profoundly change the ways in which we work with computers. Rather than issuing instructions to passive machines, humans and software agents will continually and flexibly establish a range of collaborative relationships with one another, forming human-agent collectives (HACs) to meet their individual and collective goals. This vision of people and computational agents operating at a global scale offers tremendous potential and, if realised correctly, will help us meet the key societal challenges of sustainability, inclusion, and safety that are core to our future. To fully realise this vision, we require a principled science that allows us to reason about the computational and human aspects of these systems. In this talk, I will explore the science that is needed to understand, build and apply HACs that symbiotically interleave human and computer systems to an unprecedented degree. Drawing on multi-disciplinary work in the areas of artificial intelligence, agent-based computing, machine learning, decentralised information systems, crowd sourcing, participatory systems, and ubiquitous computing, the talk will explore the science of HACs to real-world applications in the critical domains of the smart grid, disaster response and citizen science.
Computational Logic as an Intelligent Agent’s Language of Thought
Imperial College London
Robert Kowalski is Emeritus Professor and Distinguished Research Fellow at Imperial College London. He studied at the University of Chicago, the University of Bridgeport, Stanford University, the University of Warsaw, and the University of Edinburgh, where he completed his PhD in 1970. He joined Imperial College London in 1975, becoming Professor of Computational Logic in 1983 and Professor Emeritus in 1999.
During the 1980s, Kowalski was heavily involved in the British response to the Japanese Fifth Generation Project. He also served as an advisor to the UNDP Knowledge Based Systems Project in India, and to DFKI, the German Institute for Artificial Intelligence. He co-ordinated the European Community Basic Research Project, Compulog, and was the founder of the European Compulog Network of Excellence. Since 2009, he has been an advisor to the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, of the World Health Organization in Geneva.
His early research was in the field of automated theorem-proving, leading to the development of logic programming in the early 1970s. His later research has focused on the use of logic programming for knowledge representation, and includes work on the event calculus, legal reasoning, abductive reasoning and argumentation. His current work is aimed at developing a unified, logic-based framework for artificial intelligence, databases and programming. The philosophical background for this work is presented in his 2011 book Computational Logic and Human Thinking – How to be Artificially Intelligent.
Kowalski is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the European Co-ordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence, and the Association for Computing Machinery. He received the IJCAI (International Joint Conference of Artificial Intelligence) award for Research Excellence in 2011, and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science Award for Eminent Scientists for 2012-2014.
Research in AI builds upon the tools and techniques of many different disciplines, including formal logic. However, the application of formal logic to AI has revealed the deficiencies of traditional logic and has led to the development of a computational logic that is both simpler and more powerful.
The computational logic that I will describe in this talk is the logic of an intelligent agent whose task in life is to make its goals true, by performing actions to change the world, in response to the changes that it observes in the world. For this purpose, the agent uses beliefs in logical form both to reason forwards from its observations and to reason backwards from its goals, generating actions as subgoals.
I will argue that this form of computational logic can be used not only for artificial intelligence, but also for more conventional computer applications.Because it improves upon traditional logic, it can also be used for the original purpose of logic, to help people improve their own natural intelligence.