Computing That Serves

Cooperating with Machines


Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 11:00am


Jacob Crandall


Tony Martinez

Cooperating with Machines
Thursday, January 14, 2016
11:00am  1170 TMCB


Since Alan Turing envisioned Artificial Intelligence, a major driving force behind technical progress has been competition with human cognition.  Historical milestones have been frequently associated with computers matching or outperforming humans in difficult cognitive tasks (e.g. face recognition, personality classification, driving cars, or playing video games), or defeating humans in strategic zero-sum encounters (e.g. Chess, Checkers, Poker, or Jeopardy!).  In contrast, less attention has been given to developing autonomous machines that establish mutually cooperative relationships with humans even when the preferences of humans and machines are, to some degree, in conflict.  A main challenge has been that human cooperation does not appear to require sheer computational power, but rather relies on intuition, cultural norms, emotions and signals, and pre-evolved dispositions toward cooperation, common-sense mechanisms that are difficult to encode in machines.  In this talk, I will describe my research group’s efforts to develop algorithms that can establish and maintain cooperative relationships with people.  In particular, I will describe a new learning system that combines a state-of-the-art machine-learning algorithm with novel mechanisms for generating and acting on signals.  Given only a description of the game, the resulting learning system cooperates with people and other machines at levels that rival human cooperation in two-player repeated interactions.  It does so without pre-programming of well-known, game-specific strategies, thus enabling human-AI cooperation in scenarios previously unanticipated by algorithm designers. 


Jacob Crandall received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, in 2001, 2004, and 2006, respectively. Jacob is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, a new graduate-research university in Abu Dhabi, UAE established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prior to joining Masdar Institute in 2008, he was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. His research interests include human-machine systems, artificial intelligence, multi-agent systems, machine learning, and robotics.