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Forming We-intentions under breakdown situations in human-robot interactions
University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6035-800X
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Computing Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3036-6519
University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1359-5109
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Computing Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8430-4241
2023 (English)In: Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine, ISSN 0169-2607, E-ISSN 1872-7565, Vol. 242, article id 107817Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background and Objective: When agents (e.g. a person and a social robot) perform a joint activity to achieve a joint goal, they require sharing a relevant group intention, which has been defined as a We-intention. In forming We-intentions, breakdown situations due to conflicts between internal and “external” intentions are unavoidable, particularly in healthcare scenarios. To study such We-intention formation and “reparation” of conflicts, this paper has a two-fold objective: introduce a general computational mechanism allowing We-intention formation and reparation in interactions between a social robot and a person; and exemplify how the formal framework can be applied to facilitate interaction between a person and a social robot for healthcare scenarios.

Method: The formal computational framework for managing We-intentions was defined in terms of Answer set programming and a Belief-Desire-Intention control loop. We exemplify the formal framework based on earlier theory-based user studies consisting of human-robot dialogue scenarios conducted in a Wizard of Oz setup, video-recorded and evaluated with 20 participants. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews, which were analyzed qualitatively using thematic analysis. N=20 participants (women n=12, men=8, age range 23-72) were part of the study. Two age groups were established for the analysis: younger participants (ages 23-40) and older participants (ages 41-72).

Results: We proved four theoretical propositions, which are well-desired characteristics of any rational social robot. In our study, most participants suggested that people were the cause of breakdown situations. Over half of the young participants perceived the social robot's avoidant behavior in the scenarios.

Conclusions: This work covered in depth the challenge of aligning the intentions of two agents (for example, in a person-robot interaction) when they try to achieve a joint goal. Our framework provides a novel formalization of the We-intentions theory from social science. The framework is supported by formal properties proving that our computational mechanism generates consistent potential plans. At the same time, the agent can handle incomplete and inconsistent intentions shared by another agent (for example, a person). Finally, our qualitative results suggested that this approach could provide an acceptable level of action/intention agreement generation and reparation from a person-centric perspective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2023. Vol. 242, article id 107817
Keywords [en]
We-intentions, Breakdown situations, Conflict of intentions, Repairing conflicts, Human-robot interaction, Answer set programming, Logic programming, Shared intentions, Social robots, Healthcare scenarios
National Category
Robotics
Research subject
human-computer interaction
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-214338DOI: 10.1016/j.cmpb.2023.107817ISI: 001091730800001PubMedID: 37813056Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85173256917OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-214338DiVA, id: diva2:1796350
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 952026
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form.

Available from: 2023-09-12 Created: 2023-09-12 Last updated: 2024-06-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Breakdown situations in dialogues between humans and socially intelligent agents
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Breakdown situations in dialogues between humans and socially intelligent agents
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Situationer av sammanbrott i dialoger mellan människor och socialt intelligenta agenter
Abstract [en]

Dialogues between humans are complex due to the challenges in predicting how they will unfold as people may want to achieve different purposes. For instance, to act together, they co-create a common goal; to learn, they co-create knowledge; to build relationships, they share emotions and beliefs. Apart from different purposes, people may want to achieve multiple purposes in a dialogue, introducing a movement between goals. Such actions cause problems in understanding and conflicts among the participants. Activity Theory denotes such situations as breakdown situations, which also occur when people have dialogues with software agents driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI). This thesis falls within the domain of human-centred AI, focusing on software agents able to collaborate and support people to achieve their goals. We call these software agents socially intelligent agents.

This thesis has two aims: (1) to develop an increased understanding of breakdown situations in dialogues between humans and socially intelligent agents and (2) to develop computational frameworks based on the developed understanding to manage breakdown situations, which could be embedded in an agent's cognitive architecture. The theoretical frameworks from social sciences, particularly Activity Theory, were applied to address the aims. They provided an alternate perspective that considers breakdown situations as opportunities to learn something new rather than the traditional view of them being errors or failures.

The main contributions addressing the first aim were theory-driven analysis and empirical findings that provided increased knowledge of breakdown situations, resulting in design implications and future agendas guiding the subsequent research. The results informed the three strategies to manage breakdown situations by aligning, partially aligning or not aligning with human's intentions. We found that participants considered partial alignment as a sufficient level of agreement for potential collaboration, which would be interesting to verify in future studies. To address the second aim, two novel computational frameworks were provided. These frameworks were based on linguistics and social sciences theories, allowing an agent to interpret the dialogue's syntax, semantics, and social aspects, facilitating a deeper understanding of dialogues. Finally, a novel computational framework was developed to reason about conflicts and be able to plan by adopting the strategy of aligning with the human's intentions. 

We conceptualised a cognitive architecture based on our research findings. The cognitive architecture embeds mechanisms for socially intelligent agents to manage breakdown situations in dialogues with humans. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2023. p. 68
Series
Report / UMINF, ISSN 0348-0542 ; 23.07
Keywords
Dialogues, Breakdown Situations, Focus Shift, Human-Centric Artificial Intelligence, Engeström’s Activity Triangle, We-Intention, Argumentation-Based Dialogues, Grice’s Cooperative Principle, Communicative Functions, Wizard-of-Oz, User Studies, Thematic Analysis, Sequence Organisation
National Category
Human Computer Interaction Language Technology (Computational Linguistics)
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-216752 (URN)9789180701648 (ISBN)9789180701655 (ISBN)
Public defence
2023-12-14, MIT.A.121, MIT-huset, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-11-23 Created: 2023-11-16 Last updated: 2023-11-20Bibliographically approved

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Tewari, MaitreyeeLindgren, Helena

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