Planning and Acting Together
People often act together with a shared purpose; they collaborate. Collaboration enables them to work more efficiently and to complete activities they could not accomplish individually. An increasing number of computer applications also require collaboration among various systems and people. Thus, a major challenge for AI researchers is to determine how to construct computer systems that are able to act effectively as partners in collaborative activity. Collaborative activity entails participants forming commitments to achieve the goals of the group activity and requires group decision making and group planning procedures. In addition, agents must be committed to supporting the activities of their fellow participants in support of the group activity. Furthermore, when conflicts arise (for example, from resource bounds), participants must weigh their commitments to various group activities against those for individual activities. This article briefly reviews the major features of one model of collaborative planning called SHARED-PLANS (Grosz and Kraus 1999, 1996). It describes several current efforts to develop collaborative planning agents and systems for human-computer communication based on this model. Finally, it discusses empirical research aimed at determining effective commitment strategies in the SHAREDPLANS context.
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