Predicting Own Action: Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Induced by Proper Scoring Rules
This paper studies a mechanism to incentivize agents who predict their own future actions and truthfully declare their predictions. In a crowdsouring setting (e.g., participatory sensing), obtaining an accurate prediction of the actions of workers/agents is valuable for a requester who is collecting real-world information from the crowd. If an agent predicts an external event that she cannot control herself (e.g., tomorrow's weather), any proper scoring rule can give an accurate incentive. In our problem setting, an agent needs to predict her own action (e.g., what time tomorrow she will take a photo of a specific place) that she can control to maximize her utility. Also, her (gross) utility can vary based on an eternal event. We first prove that a mechanism can satisfy our goal if and only if it utilizes a strictly proper scoring rule, assuming that an agent can find an optimal declaration that maximizes her expected utility. This declaration is self-fulfilling; if she acts to maximize her utility, the probabilistic distribution of her action matches her declaration, assuming her prediction about the external event is correct. Furthermore, we develop a heuristic algorithm that efficiently finds a semi-optimal declaration, and show that this declaration is still self-fulfilling. We also examine our heuristic algorithm's performance and describe how an agent acts when she faces an unexpected scenario.