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AISB event Bulletin Item

Call for potential participants for AAAI symposium on time and interactive behavior


We are soliciting statements of interest for a potential 2010 AAAI spring symposium on the role of timing and
representations of time in human-human and human-machine interaction . If this topic is of interest to you,
please send a reply to by May 4. This statement of interest is non-binding and does not
obligate you to submit a paper or attend. A detailed description of the proposed symposium is included below.

Dr Frank Broz
Research Fellow
Adaptive Systems Research Group
School of Computer Science
University of Hertfordshire

It's All in the Timing: Representing and Reasoning About Time in Interactive Behavior

People do not experience the world solely as an ordered sequence of events. The timing of our perceptions and behaviors has as much of an impact on our experiences as the nature of the events themselves. Yet many of the representations currently used to model human behavior do not incorporate explicit models of the temporal
expression of these stimuli or actions. Dynamic behavior is often modeled sequentially in such a way that its temporal resolution is reduced and potential non-stationarity is ignored for the sake of computational efficiency (as in Markov state-based models of behavior), and/or causal mappings between observations and behavior are simplified to reduce the sparseness of available datasets. Given that any artificial agent designed to interact with people will be dealing with intelligent partners with rich mental representations of time, are we using the appropriate representations?

The issue of timing can be even more critical when designing natural interactive social behaviors for robots or other synthetic characters. Human social behaviors are extremely dependent on a close feedback loop of simultaneous and coordinated activity between multiple interactors. Yet how to best represent these interdependencies and temporal relationships in order to produce interactive behaviors is just beginning to be explored and understood from a computational perspective.  Speed, acceleration, tempo, and delay are concepts that AI and robotics researchers recognize as important in everything from motor control to verbal communication, but we do not yet possess a well-motivated framework for how these temporal considerations should be designed into our systems.

This workshop is oriented towards several different groups of researchers: those who use machine learning techniques to model human behavior, psychologists who study spoken dialog or nonverbal behavior, and designers of robots or computational artifacts that interact naturally with humans in real time. By bringing together members of these communities through a shared interest in temporal representations, our goal is to identify critical areas of study and promising techniques. Some of the central questions that presentations and discussions will address are:

* As researchers who study human interactive behavior, where do the common representations fall short? In what cases are they sufficient?
* What representations should be developed or borrowed to better represent human behavior or deal with the challenges of interacting naturally with a person?
* What do we know (e.g. from the social, cognitive, and behavioral sciences) about the timing of human behavior that we are not currently using? Which aspects of human behavior or social interaction are likely to be highly dependent on time?
* What kinds of experiments in human-machine interaction could serve as testbeds (or eventually benchmarks) for the study of the role of timing?

Depending on the interests of the participating researchers, there will be break-out sessions where members of special interest areas can discuss issues in greater depth and report their shared conclusions back to the symposium as a whole. Some potential breakout session topics are:

* nonverbal communication
* rhythmic or musical interaction
* spoken dialogue
* social decision-making
* user state modeling
* interaction kinesics

Organizing committee: Frank Broz (UH), Marek Michalowski (CMU), Emily Mower (USC)

Please reply to by May 4, 2009.