Behavioral Implicit Communication (BIC): Communicating with Smart Environments via our Practical Behavior and Its Traces

Behavioral Implicit Communication (BIC): Communicating with Smart Environments via our Practical Behavior and Its Traces

Cristiano Castelfranchi (Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione, CNR, Italy), Giovanni Pezzulo (Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione, Italy & Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale, CNR, Italy) and Luca Tummolini (Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione, CNR, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0038-6.ch001
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A crucial part of the intelligence that smart environments should display is a specific form of social intelligence: the ability to read human behavior and its traces in terms of underlying intentions and assumptions. Such ability is crucial to enable human users to tacitly coordinate and negotiate with smart and proactive digital environments. In this paper, the authors argue that the necessary tool for this ability is behavioral and stigmergic implicit (i.e. non-conventional) communication. The authors present a basic theory of such a fundamental interactive means—the theory of Behavioral Implicit Communication (BIC).
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Bic Communication: From Observations To Signals

Given the emphasis on the non-obstructive nature of the AmI applications in relation to the natural activities of humans, much of contemporary research is focused on approaches that minimize or do not rely at all on “explicit” interaction (Augusto & McCullagh, 2007). From our perspective, a paramount example of “explicit” interaction is the use of linguistic or gestural communication to support interaction between users and smart environments. However, beyond these two kinds of communication, there is a third one that we call Behavioral Implicit Communication, where there isn’t any specialized signal (i.e. neither arbitrary acoustic symbols nor codified gestures), but the practical behavior itself is the message. BIC is very useful in a coordination context (see below), where by simply performing an action we send a message to our partner(s) in the interaction. This message may for example be intentional, i.e. the sender wants that the receiver knows that she is performing that action.

However, this message exchange presupposes a more primitive and basic substrate which is due to “observation”: the unilateral capability of the agent to observe the other’s behavior and to “read” it; to understand what she is doing, what she intends and plans to do (her goals), or at least to predict and expect her next position or action using this information, for instance (some sort of primitive “inference”) for “anticipatory coordination” (Castelfranchi, 2006).

In other words, communication is based on and exploits “signification” (the semiotic ability of cognitive agents; for example the ability to take ‘smoke’ as a sign of ‘fire’, or to ascribe ‘thirst’ to a drinking agent) that goes beyond simple perception but it not necessarily used only for communication.

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