Agreement Technologies for Conflict Resolution

Agreement Technologies for Conflict Resolution

Vicente Julian (Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain), Victor Sanchez-Anguix (Coventry University, UK), Stella Heras (Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain) and Carlos Carrascosa (Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0245-6.ch009
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Abstract

Recently, artificial intelligence, has emerged as a new source of scientific works in conflict resolution. The interest in conflict resolution lies in diverse reasons. One of the main reasons is that computational systems have gradually shifted towards a distributed paradigm where heterogeneous entities should include computational conflict resolution mechanisms, such as proposed by agreement technologies. This chapter gives an overview of these technologies, which are needed in order to ensure the accomplishment of the global system goal and to solve conflicts. Among agreement technologies, automated negotiation is proposed as one key mechanism in conflict resolution due to its analogous use in human conflict resolution. Automated negotiation consists of an automated exchange of proposals carried out by software agents on behalf of their users. Another key technology is argumentation, which provides a fruitful means of dealing with conflicts and knowledge inconsistencies. Agents can reach agreements by engaging in argumentation dialogues with their opponents in a discussion.
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Introduction

Agreement Technologies (AT) is a new discipline, which covers a range of specific techniques for dealing with interactions in dynamic, open environments (Ossowsky, 2013; Sierra, Botti & Ossowski, 2011). They address issues such as finding ways to negotiate, agree and cooperate with other agents, and developing appropriate means of forming and managing coalitions. These aspects are extremely related with the concept of conflict resolution. Conflict is an omnipresent phenomenon in human society, which is related with the necessity to achieve an agreement between entities. Conflict spans from individual decision making trade-offs such as deciding what to do next (sleep, eat, work, play), to complex scenarios including politics and business. Over the last decades, computer science has tried to study conflict from a computational perspective. Conflict is a ubiquitous phenomenon and arises in many areas of our lives. It arises and needs to be dealt with in social settings, such as a group of friends deciding on a vacation or contract negotiation in business and politics (Browder, 2000), as well as in individual settings related to action selection (e.g., how to weigh one’s preferences and decide what product to buy). Even if we are not aware of it, we are continuously facing conflict and attempting to solve it.

Different proposals based on agreement technologies have been developed with conflict resolution as their main research goal. For instance, automated negotiation approaches have been proposed as set of algorithms and protocols whose mission is providing effective deals in electronic marketplaces (Jennings et al, 2001; Parsons, Rodriguez-Aguilar & Klein, 2011; Sanchez-Anguix, Julian, Botti, & García-Fornes, 2013). Researchers in argumentation aim to solve conflicts by means of dialogue games, speech particles and information rebuttal (Rahwan et al, 2003). Works in cooperation and coordination try to give a joint solution to a problem, usually with no global information or control (Rebollo, Carrascosa, & Palomares, 2014). Reputation is another way to solve conflicts when an entity must to decide about other entities (Pinyol, Sabater-Mir, 2013). Finally, agent organizations, inspired by the metaphor of human organizations, allow achieving global goals (and solve conflicts) by using norms, plans and structures formally specified (Argente et al 2011; Hübner, Sichman & Boissier).

This chapter explores in detail several works done in the area of agreement technologies, which can be used as a way to engage new conflict resolution approach along with new challenges to face by these technologies. During the chapter we discuss different types of agreement and agreement processes related to conflict resolution, describing and relating the different technologies and application areas involved. First, the different related technologies are briefly introduced. After this, a detailed analysis of negotiation and argumentation technologies is introduced in the following sections.

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