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Social utility Functions-part I: theory

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1 Author(s)
Stirling, W.C. ; Electr. & Comput. Eng. Dept., Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT, USA

The dominant approaches to utility-based multiagent decision theory rely on the premise of individual rationality-the doctrine that each individual is committed to achieving the best outcome for itself, regardless of the effect doing so has on others. This fundamentally asocial concept is the basis of conventional von Neumann-Morgenstern (vN-M) utilities but is inadequate to characterize truly cooperative artificial systems. Social utility functions differ from conventional vN-M utilities in that they are functions of multiple decision-maker preferences, rather than actions, and thus permit individuals to expand their spheres of interest beyond the self. A logical basis for coherent reasoning in multiagent environments must obey exactly the same desiderata as do multivariate probability functions. By taking a dual utilities approach (one to account for effectiveness and one to account for efficiency), a new game-theoretic structure, called satisficing games, provides a decision-making procedure that accounts for both individual and group interest and presents a framework for the design of sophisticated multiagent societies.

Published in:

Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part C: Applications and Reviews, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:35 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

Nov. 2005

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