Archive for the ‘Agents’ Category

Augmented Social Cognition for Consumer Health and Wellness

In a recent Wall Street Journal essay, Marc Andreessen wrote: “Software is eating the world. Over the next 10 years, I expect many more industries to be disrupted by software. Healthcare and education are next up for fundamental software-based transformation.”

What is the impending disruption in healthcare, and what new technologies are driving it? I argue that the problem is not healthcare but health: creating new consumer-centric approaches to health and wellness that increase engagement, improve health literacy and promote behavior change.

The web is evolving from information (portals) to interaction (social/mobile) to influence: shaping attitudes and behaviors. This creates a unique opportunity to address the problem of consumer health and wellness. But, to do this effectively requires a new kind of technology: user modeling. It also requires an innovation methodology that is fundamentally about people, not technology.

At PARC, our research in Augmented Social Cognition is centered around the confluence of three technologies: social, mobile, and user modeling. I discuss these technologies and explain how we leverage artificial Intelligence (AI) and case-based reasoning (CBR) techniques to model users and create effective and sustainable behavior change.

Invited talk at CBR-2013 Industry Day, Saratoga Springs, NY, July 8, 2013.
VIEW SLIDES:

Learning from Demonstration to be a Good Team Member in a Role Playing Game

We present an approach that uses learning from demonstration in a computer role playing game. We describe a behavior engine that uses case-based reasoning. The behavior engine accepts observation traces of human playing decisions and produces a sequence of actions which can then be carried out by an artificial agent within the gaming environment. Our work focuses on team-based role playing games, where the agents produced by the behavior engine act as team members within a mixed human-agent team. We present the results of a study we conducted, where we assess both the quantitative and qualitative performance difference between human-only teams compared with hybrid human-agent teams.

Learning from Demonstration to be a Good Team Member in a Role Playing Game

by Michael Silva, Silas McCroskey, Jonathan Rubin, Michael Youngblood, Ashwin Ram

26th International FLAIRS Conference on Artificial Intelligence (FLAIRS-13).
www.cc.gatech.edu/faculty/ashwin/papers/er-13-01.pdf

Construction and Adaptation of AI Behaviors in Computer Games

Computer games are an increasingly popular application for Artificial Intelligence (AI) research, and conversely AI is an increasingly popular selling point for commercial digital games. AI for non playing characters (NPC) in computer games tends to come from people with computing skills well beyond the average user. The prime reason behind the lack of involvement of novice users in creating AI behaviors for NPC’s in computer games is that construction of high quality AI behaviors is a hard problem.

There are two reasons for it. First, creating a set of AI behavior requires specialized skills in design and programming. The nature of the process restricts it to certain individuals who have a certain expertise in this area. There is little understanding of how the behavior authoring process can be simplified with easy-to-use authoring environments so that novice users (without programming and design experience) can carry out the behavior authoring task. Second, the constructed AI behaviors have problems and bugs in them which cause a break in player expe- rience when the problematic behaviors repeatedly fail. It is harder for novice users to identify, modify and correct problems with the authored behavior sets as they do not have the necessary debugging and design experience.

The two issues give rise to a couple of interesting questions that need to be investigated: a) How can the AI behavior construction process be simplified so that a novice user (without program- ming and design experience) can easily conduct the authoring activity and b) How can the novice users be supported to help them identify and correct problems with the authored behavior sets? In this thesis, I explore the issues related to the problems highlighted and propose a solution to them within an application domain, named Second Mind(SM). In SM novice users who do not have expertise in computer programming employ an authoring interface to design behaviors for intelligent virtual characters performing a service in a virtual world. These services range from shopkeepers to museum hosts. The constructed behaviors are further repaired using an AI based approach.

To evaluate the construction and repair approach, we conduct experiments with human subjects. Based on developing and evaluating the solution, I claim that a design solution with behavior timeline based interaction design approach for behavior construction supported by an understandable vocabulary and reduced feature representation formalism enables novice users to author AI behaviors in an easy and understandable manner for NPCs performing a service in a virtual world. I further claim that an introspective reasoning approach based on comparison of successful and unsuccessful execution traces can be used as a means to successfully identify breaks in player experience and modify the failures to improve the experience of the player interacting with NPCs performing a service in a virtual world.

The work contributes in the following three ways by providing: 1) a novel introspective reasoning approach for successfully detecting and repairing failures in AI behaviors for NPCs performing a service in a virtual world.; 2) a novice user understandable authoring environment to help them create AI behaviors for NPCs performing a service in a virtual world in an easy and understandable manner; and 3) Design, debugging and testing scaffolding to help novice users modify their authored AI behaviors and achieve higher quality modified AI behaviors compared to their original unmodified behaviors.

Read the dissertation:

Construction and Adaptation of AI Behaviors in Computer Games

by Manish Mehta

PhD dissertation, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology, August 2011.

smartech.gatech.edu/handle/1853/42724

Open Social Learning Communities

With the advent of open education resources, social networking technologies and new pedagogies for online and blended learning, we are in the early stages of a significant disruption in current models of education. The disruption is fueled by a staggering growth in demand. It is estimated that there will be 100 million students qualified to enter universities over the next decade. To educate them, a major university would need to be created every week.

Universities have responded to this need with Open Education Resources—thousands of free, high quality courses, developed by hundreds of faculty, used by millions worldwide. Unfortunately, online courseware does not offer a supporting learning experience or the engagement needed to keep students motivated. Students read less when using e-textbooks; video lectures are boring; and retention and course completion rates are low.

Therein lies the core problem: How to engage a generation of learners who live on the Internet yet tune out of school, who seek interaction on Facebook yet find none on iTunes U, who need community yet are only offered content. We propose a new approach to this problem: open social learning communities, anchored with open content, providing an interactive online study group experience akin to sitting with study buddies on a world-wide campus quad.

This solution is enabled by state-of-the-art web technologies: really real-time collaboration technologies for a highly interactive experience; intelligent recommender systems to help learners connect with relevant content and other learners; mining and analytics to assess learner outcomes; and reputation techniques to establish social capital.  We will discuss these technologies and how they can be combined to address the problem of education in a manner that is highly scalable yet interactive and engaging.

This approach can be used for other types of learning communities. We will show an application to healthcare information access to help consumers learn about their healthcare questions and needs.

Keynote talk at SIPA Conference: Entrepreneurship—Idea Wave 3.0, Mountain View, CA, November 12, 2011.
 
Keynote talk at the International Conference on Web Intelligence, Mining and Semantics (WIMS-11), Sogndal, Norway, May 27, 2011.
 

View the talk:

videolectures.net/wims2011_ram_learning

Read the paper:

www.cc.gatech.edu/faculty/ashwin/papers/er-11-04.pdf

View the slides:

 

 
 

CBArch: A Case-Based Reasoning Framework for Conceptual Design of Commercial Buildings

The paper describes the first phase of development of a Case-Base Reasoning (CBR) system to support early conceptual design of buildings. As specific context of application, the research focuses on energy performance of commercial buildings, and the early identification of energy-related features that contribute to its outcomes. The hypothesis is that bringing knowledge from relevant precedents may facilitate this identification process, thus offering a significant contribution for early analysis and decision-making.

The paper introduces a proof-of-concept for such a system, proposing a novel integration of Case-Based Reasoning, Parametric Modeling (Building Information Modeling), and Ontology Classification. While CBR provides a framework to store and retrieve cases at an instance level, Parametric Modeling offers a framework for rule-based geometric adaptation and evaluation. The ontology is intended to provide a semantic representation, so that new design concepts can be created, classified and retained for further reuse. Potential advantages and limitations of this three-level integration approach are discussed along with recommendations for future development.

CBArch: A Case-Based Reasoning Framework for Conceptual Design of Commercial Buildings

by Andrés Cavieres, Urjit Bhatia, Preetam Joshi, Fei Zhao, Ashwin Ram

AAAI-11 Spring Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and Sustainable Design
www.cc.gatech.edu/faculty/ashwin/papers/er-11-07.pdf

Real-Time Case-Based Reasoning for Interactive Digital Entertainment

(Click image to view the video – it’s near the bottom of the new page.)

User-generated content is everywhere: photos, videos, news, blogs, art, music, and every other type of digital media on the Social Web. Games are no exception. From strategy games to immersive virtual worlds, game players are increasingly engaged in creating and sharing nearly all aspects of the gaming experience: maps, quests, artifacts, avatars, clothing, even games themselves. Yet, there is one aspect of computer games that is not created and shared by game players: the AI. Building sophisticated personalities, behaviors, and strategies requires expertise in both AI and programming, and remains outside the purview of the end user.

To understand why authoring Game AI is hard, we need to understand how it works. AI can take digital entertainment beyond scripted interactions into the arena of truly interactive systems that are responsive, adaptive, and intelligent. I will discuss examples of AI techniques for character-level AI (in embedded NPCs, for example) and game-level AI (in the drama manager, for example). These types of AI enhance the player experience in different ways. The techniques are complicated and are usually implemented by expert game designers.

I propose an alternative approach to designing Game AI: Real-Time CBR. This approach extends CBR to real-time systems that operate asynchronously during game play, planning, adapting, and learning in an online manner. Originally developed for robotic control, Real-Time CBR can be used for interactive games ranging from multiplayer strategy games to interactive believable avatars in virtual worlds.

As with any CBR technique, Real-Time CBR integrates problem solving with learning. This property can be used to address the authoring problem. I will show the first Web 2.0 application that allows average users to create AIs and challenge their friends to play them—without programming. I conclude with some thoughts about the role of CBR in AI-based Interactive Digital Entertainment.

Keynote talk at the Eighteenth Conference on Pattern Recognition and Artificial Intelligence (RFIA-12), Lyon, France, February 5, 2012.
Slides and video here: rfia2012.liris.cnrs.fr/doku.php?id=pub:ram
 
Keynote talk at the Eleventh Scandinavian Conference on Artificial Intelligence (SCAI-11), Trondheim, Norway, May 25, 2011.
 
Keynote talk at the 2010 International Conference on Case-Based Reasoning (ICCBR-10), Alessandria, Italy, July 22, 2010.
 
GVU Brown Bag talk, October 14, 2010. Watch the talk here: www.gvu.gatech.edu/node/4320 
 
Try it yourself:
Learn more about the algorithms:
View the talk:
www.sais.se/blog/?p=57

View the slides:

Meta-Level Behavior Adaptation in Real-Time Strategy Games

AI agents designed for real-time settings need to adapt themselves to changing circumstances to improve their performance and remedy their faults. Agents typically designed for computer games, however, lack this ability. The lack of adaptivity causes a break in player experience when they repeatedly fail to behave properly in circumstances unforeseen by the game designers.

We present an AI technique for game-playing agents that helps them adapt to changing game circumstances. The agents carry out runtime adaptation of their behavior sets by monitoring and reasoning about their behavior execution and using this reasoning to dynamically revise their behaviors. The evaluation of the behavior adaptation approach in a complex real-time strategy game shows that the agents adapt themselves and improve their performance by revising their behavior sets appropriately.

Read the paper:

Meta-Level Behavior Adaptation in Real-Time Strategy Games

by Manish Mehta, Santi Ontañon, Ashwin Ram

ICCBR-10 Workshop on Case-Based Reasoning for Computer Games, Alessandria, Italy, 2010.
www.cc.gatech.edu/faculty/ashwin/papers/er-10-02.pdf

Conversational Framework for Web Search and Recommendations

We introduce a Conversational Interaction framework as an innovative and natural approach to facilitate easier information access by combining web search and recommendations. This framework includes an intelligent information agent (Cobot) in the conversation to provide contextually relevant social and web search recommendations. Cobot supports the information discovery process by integrating web information retrieval along with proactive connections to relevant users who can participate in real-time conversations. We describe the conversational framework and report on some preliminary experiments in the system.

Read the paper:

Conversational Framework for Web Search and Recommendations

by Saurav Sahay, Ashwin Ram

ICCBR-10 Workshop on Reasoning from Experiences on the Web (WebCBR-10), Alessandria, Italy, 2010.
www.cc.gatech.edu/faculty/ashwin/papers/er-10-01.pdf

User-Generated AI for Interactive Digital Entertainment

CMU Seminar

User-generated content is everywhere: photos, videos, news, blogs, art, music, and every other type of digital media on the Social Web. Games are no exception. From strategy games to immersive virtual worlds, game players are increasingly engaged in creating and sharing nearly all aspects of the gaming experience: maps, quests, artifacts, avatars, clothing, even games themselves. Yet, there is one aspect of computer games that is not created and shared by game players: the AI. Building sophisticated personalities, behaviors, and strategies requires expertise in both AI and programming, and remains outside the purview of the end user.

To understand why Game AI is hard, we need to understand how it works. AI can take digital entertainment beyond scripted interactions into the arena of truly interactive systems that are responsive, adaptive, and intelligent. I discuss examples of AI techniques for character-level AI (in embedded NPCs, for example) and game-level AI (in the drama manager, for example). These types of AI enhance the player experience in different ways. The techniques are complicated and are usually implemented by expert game designers.

I argue that User-Generated AI is the next big frontier in the rapidly growing Social Gaming area. From Sims to Risk to World of Warcraft, end users want to create, modify, and share not only the appearance but the “minds” of their characters. I present my recent research on intelligent technologies to assist Game AI authors, and show the first Web 2.0 application that allows average users to create AIs and challenge their friends to play them—without programming. I conclude with some thoughts about the future of AI-based Interactive Digital Entertainment.

CMU Robotics & Intelligence Seminar, September 28, 2009
Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.
MIT Media Lab Colloquium, January 25, 2010
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
Stanford Media X Philips Seminar, February 1, 2010
Stanford University, Stanford, CA.
Pixar Research Seminar, February 2, 2010

Try it yourself:
Learn more about the algorithms:
View the talk:
www.sais.se/blog/?p=57

View the slides:

Collaborative Information Access: A Conversational Search Approach

Knowledge and user-generated content is proliferating on the web in scientific publications, information portals and online social media. This knowledge explosion has continued to outpace technological innovation in efficient information access technologies. In this paper, we describe methods and technologies for “Conversational Search” as an innovative solution to facilitate easier information access and reduce the information overload for users.

Conversational Search is an interactive and collaborative information finding interaction. The participants in this interaction engage in social conversations aided with an intelligent information agent (Cobot) that provides contextually relevant search recommendations. The collaborative and conversational search activity helps users make faster and more informed search and discovery. It also helps the agent learn about conversations with interactions and social feedback to make better recommendations. Conversational search leverages the social discovery process by integrating web information retrieval along with the social interactions.

Read the paper:

Collaborative Information Access: A Conversational Search Approach

by Saurav Sahay, Anu Venkatesh, Ashwin Ram

ICCBR-09 Workshop on Reasoning from Experiences on the Web (WebCBR-09), Seattle, July 2009
www.cc.gatech.edu/faculty/ashwin/papers/er-09-05.pdf
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