Chatbots Who Negotiate

From FOI Erin Archerd (Detroit Mercy): Facebook has apparently been developing chat bots that negotiate.

This article in The Atlantic focuses on the bots creation of their own language. And here’s the Facebook report on training the bots in negotiations.

There’s a struggle going on between negotiating like “humans” (more prone to accepting non-Pareto optimal solutions for the sake of appearing to compromise) and the more aggressive style the bots adopted for the sake of reaching optimal solutions:

“A negative consequence of this more aggressive negotiation strategy is that humans were more likely to walk away with no deal, which is reflected in the lower agreement rates. Even though failing to agree was worth 0 points, people often preferred this course over capitulating to an uncompromising opponent.”

One thought on “Chatbots Who Negotiate”

  1. Although we seem to hear about technological advances at least once a day, I had mixed feelings about this development. It is incredible that we can create machines that end up creating their own language. We briefly discussed the online arbitration or mediation sessions and how those may become more prevalent one day. However, I think using chatbots to independently conduct dispute resolution processes poses risks to the process that may lead to misinterpretations, confusion, and maybe unsatisfactory results. There is more to the dispute resolution process than just words. Often people are watching how others involved in the session react to certain questions or statements, whether it is in their facial expressions or body movements. The article mentioned that the chatbots can be programmed to use different strategies during negotiations, but how can you program a machine to consider non-language cues? One of the advantages of mediation is the self-determination factor, that the disputants can create a creative solution that best suits their needs and interests. If these chatbots are being programmed to be overly aggressive, I would agree that there would be a substantial chance that more negotiations would end without an agreement at all, let alone a creative solution. The chatbots may be helpful because they will provide more access to the dispute resolution process and may be less expensive, but the aggressive negotiating strategy and lack of understanding non-language cues would promote confusion and unsatisfactory results.

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