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BUiD studies Computer Negotiations

The British University in Dubai's (BUiD) focus on advanced research into important industry sectors could enable the creation of networks of computers conducting business discussions and legal arguments, according to leading artificial intelligence experts.

BUiD's Institute of Informatics is engaged in the international discussion surrounding the development of artificial intelligence-driven "argumentation and negotiation," a process which enables computers to communicate with each other in order to solve complex problems.

Among the advanced AI developments the BUiD team is researching is the potential for multiple computers arguing and negotiating in a fully/semi-automated market in order to influence the price of goods and services, replicating the traditional processes seen in markets around the world.

Experts from the university have engaged in international seminars and published important new works in this area, generating global interest in their ongoing research.

"Argumentation and negotiation are key elements of human communication and if we are able to replicate these processes in computer networks, we will have the potential to have a fully-automated marketplace which achieves compromise through dialogue," said Dr Iyad Rahwan, Lecturer at the Institute of Informatics, British University in Dubai and Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, who is leading the research.

"The impact of this development would be hugely significant for both businesses and communities across the world," he added.

Prospective applications for this advanced research include the use of artificial intelligence in legal disputes, business negotiations, labour disputes, scientific inquiry, risk analysis, scheduling, logistics and even — potentially — democratic debate.

Argumentation is also being examined for its potential use in unmanned space exploration, where advanced robots could replace humans and be programmed to argue with one each other in order to decide the best course of action with limited resources.

"The theory of argumentation is really fascinating in so many areas. It is a rich, interdisciplinary area of research involving philosophy, communications studies, linguistics, psychology, logic and, more recently, artificial intelligence," continued Dr Rahwan. "Applying argumentation in artificial intelligence is a very challenging problem and requires the construction of very sophisticated mathematical models of dialogue," he added.

A key academic in the international field of AI, Dr Rahwan has played a central role in organising international workshops on argumentation in AI in the USA, Netherlands, Japan, and later this year will deliver a seminar in Hawaii. Dr Rahwan is also on the programme committee of the International Conference on Computational Models of Argument (COMMA)

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