Agents that Learn to Explain Themselves

W. Lewis Johnson

Intelligent artificial agents need to be able to explain and justify their actions. They must therefore understand the rationales for their own actions. This paper describes a technique for acquiring this understanding, implemented in a multimedia explanation system. The system determines the motivation for a decision by recalling the situation in which the decision was made, and replaying the decision under variants of the original situation. Through experimentation the agent is able to discover what factors led to the decisions, and what alternatives might have been chosen had the situation been slightly different. The agent learns to recognize similar situations where the same decision would be made for the same reasons. This approach is implemented in an artificial fighter pilot that can explain the motivations for its actions, situation assessments, and beliefs.

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