Engineering Pro-Sociality With Autonomous Agents


  • Ana Paiva IST, INESC-ID, University of Lisbon
  • Fernando Santos IST, INESC-ID, University of Lisbon
  • Francisco Santos IST, INESC-ID, University of Lisbon


Pro-social Agents


This paper envisions a future where autonomous agents are used to foster and support pro-social behavior in a hybrid society of humans and machines. Pro-social behavior occurs when people and agents perform costly actions that benefit others. Acts such as helping others voluntarily, donating to charity, providing informations or sharing resources, are all forms of pro-social behavior. We discuss two questions that challenge a purely utilitarian view of human decision making and contextualize its role in hybrid societies: i) What are the conditions and mechanisms that lead societies of agents and humans to be more pro-social? ii) How can we engineer autonomous entities (agents and robots) that lead to more altruistic and cooperative behaviors in a hybrid society? We propose using social simulations, game theory, population dynamics, and studies with people in virtual or real environments (with robots) where both agents and humans interact. This research will constitute the basis for establishing the foundations for the new field of Pro-social Computing, aiming at understanding, predicting and promoting pro-sociality among humans, through artificial agents and multiagent systems.




How to Cite

Paiva, A., Santos, F., & Santos, F. (2018). Engineering Pro-Sociality With Autonomous Agents. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 32(1). Retrieved from