AISB 2008

April 1-4, 2008

Aberdeen, Scotland

AISB 2008 Convention

Communication, Interaction and Social Intelligence


Plenary Speakers

The following are the speakers for plenary sessions, one for each day of the convention. There are also some invited speakers for individual symposia, see below.

Speaker for 1 April

Jon Oberlander,
Visit Jon's Homepage

Jon Oberlander is Professor of Epistemics in the University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics. He is affiliated to Edinburgh's Institute of Communicating and Collaborative Systems, as well as the UK Economic and Social Research Council's Human Communication Research Centre, and its Language Technology Group.

His main interests lie in the intersection of computational linguistics and cognitive science. His primary aim is to develop cognitively-motivated computational and formal models of the ways in which differing people produce fluent discourse. This work has applications in systems presenting data to users, and tailoring it to their individual needs and interests.

Jon Oberlander

Jon's abstract:

Affective natural language processing: the good news and the bad news

There is now considerable interest in affective language processing. Research focusses on analysing or synthesising subjective features of text or speech, such as sentiment, opinion, emotion or point of view. Over the past few years, we have been working specifically on the relations between a writer or speaker's personality and their communication style---particularly in e-mail and weblogs. This talk discusses two recent pieces of work, and focusses specifically on the agreeableness dimension of personality. On the one hand, work with Brockmann and Isard has developed the Crag system, which generates simulated textual dialogues between movie critics with differing personalities. On the other hand, work with Wolters and Boye has investigated the relations between synthetic voice emotion, the content expressed (positive or negative), and the personality of the person listening to the voice. These two separate strands of work seem to deliver both good news and bad news: the personality dimension of agreeableness is confirmed to be significant in both generation and understanding; but its interactions with other factors are not quite what we expected.

Speaker for 2 April

Rosaria Conte,
ISTC, Rome
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Rosaria Conte is head of the Laboratory of Agent Based Social Simulation at the Institute for Cognitive Science and Technology in Rome. She also teaches Social Psychology at the University of Siena. She is Vice President of the European Society of Social Simulation (ESSA), and is a member of the Directive Council of the Italian Association of Cognitive Science.

She is a cognitive and social scientist, with a special interest in the study of positive social action (altruism, cooperation and social norms), and reputation-based social regulation. She is quite active in the Multi Agent Systems field, having contributed to launching the field of social simulation in Europe. Her research interests range from Agent Theory to Multi Agent Systems, from Agent-Based Social Simulation and Cultural Evolution to Info-societies and Virtual Markets.

Rosaria Conte

Rosaria's abstract:

Directions of Emergence. Reputation and Social Norms.

Emergence will be shown to consist of multi-directional, in particular bottom-up and top-down, processes. The latter, also called downward causation, in turn consist of specific processes, including 2nd-order emergence (see, for example, Gilbert, 2004) and immergence (see Andrighetto et al., 2008a, and current results of the EMIL project, http://emil.istc.cnr.it/). Immergence is the process by means of which higher-level effects retroact on the lower-level entities that generated them, modifying their operating rules and reinforcing or reproducing the initial generative process.

Two examples will be analyzed at some length, reputation and social norms.

Reputation can be seen as a 2nd-order emergent effect of shared informational reciprocity (Dunbar, 1998; Conte and Paolucci, 2002; Sommerfeld et al., 2007). A computational system (REPAGE), built up in the last five years within the LABSS, will be presented, and simulation results showing how it performs in simple multi-agent systems will be discussed.

Commonly, norms are either top-down (legal norms) or bottom-up (conventions) effects. In this talk, they will be defined as immergent phenomena (see Andrighetto et al., 2008b), i.e. behaviors that spread over a population because and to the extent that the corresponding normative beliefs and commands spread as well. After a short incursion on a normative agent (EMIL-A) architecture, as worked out within the EMIL project (see D.1.2 on the EMIL site), the role of normative agents will be shown by simulation findings. These illustrate the different macro-social regularities obtained within two separate populations of normative agents and social conformers.

Speaker for 3 April

Justine Cassell,
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Justine Cassell is the director of the new Center for Technology & Social Behavior, and a full professor in the departments of Communication Studies and Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at Northwestern University.

Her research interests originated in the study of human-human conversation and storytelling. Progressively she became interested in embodying machines with conversational, social and narrative intelligence so that they could interact with humans in human-like ways. She is credited with developing the Embodied Conversational Agent (ECA), a virtual human capable of interacting with humans using both language and nonverbal behavior. Increasingly her research has come to address the impact and benefits of technologies such as these on learning and communication.

Justine Cassell

Justine's abstract:

Virtual Peers for Studying and Scaffolding Real Social Interaction

It is well documented that children learn a tremendous amount from productive and socially meaningful interactions with their peers. In this talk I discuss ways in which virtual peers (life-size virtual children with the ability to engage in interaction with real children) can allow us to study how children learn from one another, can scaffold learning that is particularly important and that adults cannot teach, and can even support the very learning of social interaction itself. Examples will be drawn from our work with a number of different populations, including children with autism spectrum disorder.

Speaker for 4 April

Luciano Floridi, Hertfordshire, Oxford, Bari
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Luciano Floridi currently holds the research chair in Philosophy of Information at the University of Hertfordshire, Department of Philosophy. He is also Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford University, and Associate Professor of Logic at Università degli Studi di Bari (on leave).

He is best known for his pioneering work which has contributed to the establishment of two new areas of philosophical research: the Philosophy of Information and Information Ethics. He is one of Italy's most influential thinkers in the area of Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Ethics. His main research areas include: Philosophy of Information, Information Ethics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Logic, and the History and Philosophy of Scepticism.

Luciano Floridi

Luciano's abstract:

A second look into the future impact of ICT on our lives

In this talk, I look at the future developments of Information and Communication Technologies and try to guess what their impact on our lives will be. The forecast is that, in information societies, the threshold between online and offline will soon disappear, and that once there won't be any difference, we shall become not cyborgs but rather inforgs, i.e. connected informational organisms. This presentation updates the analysis I provided in "A look into the future impact of ICT on our lives", The Information Society, 2007, 23.1, 59-64.

Public Lecture on 3rd April at 6pm

Venue: Elphinstone Hall, King's College, University of Aberdeen

Rise of the Machines: when Artificial Intelligence takes its Place in Society

First talk:
"What designers of artificial companions need to understand about biological ones."
Click here for the invited talk by Aaron Sloman.

Prof. Aaron Sloman will explain why current Artificial Intelligence is nowhere near producing machines that that could take the place of humans in society. He will explain some of the difficult and deep problems which such machines would need to solve. He will then explain how designers of such machines need to first learn more about how biological organisms solve these same problems.

Second talk:
"Understanding the information turn: the fourth revolution"
Click here for the invited talk by Luciano Floridi.

Prof. Luciano Floridi will discuss the implications which would follow from Artificially Intelligent machines taking their place in human society. This would cause a revolution which Prof. Floridi calls "the informational turn". This can be described as the fourth step in the process of dislocation and reassessment of humanity's fundamental nature and role in the universe. We are not immobile, at the centre of the universe (Copernican revolution), we are not unnaturally separate and diverse from the rest of the animal kingdom (Darwinian revolution), and we are very far from being entirely transparent to ourselves (Freudian revolution). We do not know if we are the only intelligent form of life. But we are now slowly accepting the idea that we might be informational entities and agents among many others, and not so dramatically different from smart, engineered artefacts.

Invited Speakers for Individual Symposia

Dates Speakers Symposium Title
1-2 April tbc Affective Language in Human and Machine
1-2 April tbc Persuasive Technology
1-2 April tbc Behaviour Regulation in Multi-agent Systems
2 April tbc Brain Computer Interfaces and Human Computer Interaction
3-4 April Thomas Ågotnes (Bergen, Norway)
Rafael Bordini (Durham)
Frank Dignum (Utrecht)
Mateja Jamnik (Cambridge)
David Ethan Kennerly (Los Angeles)
Logic and the Simulation of Interaction and Reasoning
3-4 April Michelle Zhou (IBM T. J. Watson)
TBA ()
Justine Cassell (Northwestern)
Multimodal Output Generation (MOG 2008)

Aberdeen U

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