Skip to Main Content
People communicate with each other in sentences that incorporate two kinds of information: propositions about some subject, and metalevel speech acts that specify how the propositional information is used—as an assertion, a command, a question, or a promise. By means of speech acts, a group of people who have different areas of expertise can cooperate and dynamically reconfigure their social interactions to perform tasks and solve problems that would be difficult or impossible for any single individual. This paper proposes a framework for intelligent systems that consist of a variety of specialized components together with logic-based languages that can express propositions and speech acts about those propositions. The result is a system with a dynamically changing architecture that can be reconfigured in various ways: by a human knowledge engineer who specifies a script of speech acts that determine how the components interact; by a planning component that generates the speech acts to redirect the other components; or by a committee of components, which might include human assistants, whose speech acts serve to redirect one another. The components communicate by sending messages to a Linda-like blackboard, in which components accept messages that are either directed to them or that they consider themselves competent to handle.
Note: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Incorporated is distributing this Article with permission of the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) who is the exclusive owner. The recipient of this Article may not assign, sublicense, lease, rent or otherwise transfer, reproduce, prepare derivative works, publicly display or perform, or distribute the Article.