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Contributions to an anthropological approach to the cultural adaptation of migrant agents

Bordini, RH; (1999) Contributions to an anthropological approach to the cultural adaptation of migrant agents. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis proposes the use of Cultural Anthropology as a source of inspiration for solutions to the problem of adaptation of autonomous, intelligent, computational agents that migrate to societies of agents with distinctive features from the ones of the society where those agents were originally conceived. This has implications for interoperation of disparate Multi-Agent Systems. In particular, the cognitive approach to anthropology is argued to be a suitable theoretical foun-dation for this topic. Fieldwork practice in social anthropology is also indicated as an useful source of ideas. A pragmatic theory of intensionality is incorporated in this anthropological approach, resulting in a mechanism that allows agents to ascribe intensional ontologies of terms to societies that use unfamiliar means of communication; also, taxonomical relations among the terms in such ontologies can be retrieved, by means of a process inspired by the counterpart activity of ethnographers. This is presented using the Z notation for formal specification of systems, and illustrated on a set of terms from the game of cricket. Subsequently, a simulation of a game of cricket is described where one of the players is unfamiliar with the game, and therefore needs to learn the game by observing the other players. A reasonable behaviour for such a player is obtained, and the simulation offers grounds for further anthropologically-based studies. Further, a study of theories of moral sentiments is presented, and the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma is used in simulations based on those ideas. The results of the simulations show clearly the positive impact, on groups of agents, of altruistic behaviour; this can only be coherently obtained in autonomous agents by modelling emotions, which are relevant for this project as anthropologists recognise them as an essential cross-cultural link. Finally, the consequences of this project to conceptions of Distributed Artificial Intelligence are discussed.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Contributions to an anthropological approach to the cultural adaptation of migrant agents
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123885
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