On Human-Agent Collectives

Presented on 11 Jan at ICAART 2015

Keynote Lecturer: Nick Jennings

Abstract: 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.