Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour

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A paper presented at ESSA 2013 as part of the "Using qualitative data to inform behavioural rules" track there (http://cfpm.org/qual2rule).

Abstract: A structure for analysing narrative data is suggested, one that distinguishes three parts: context, scope and narrative elements. This structure is first motivated and then illustrated with some simple examples taken from Sukaina Bhawani’s thesis. It is hypothesised that such a structure might be helpful in preserving more of the natural meaning of such data, as well as being a good match to a context-dependent computational architecture. This structure could clearly be combined and improved by other methods, such as Grounded Theory. Finally some criteria for judging any such method are suggested.

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Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour

  1. 1. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 1 Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour Bruce Edmonds Centre for Policy Modelling, Manchester Metropolitan University
  2. 2. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 2 Aims and Objectives Aim: to enrich ABM using qualitative data Strategy: to provide an „intermediate‟ structure for the analysis of narrative text that is both… 1. a fairly natural fit to human cognition and hence to the narrative structure of their NL accounts 2. and is in form that facilitates the translation of the analysis into the micro-level specification of ABM (i.e. the agent‟s behavioural rules) Advantages: to make the „translation‟ process more systematic and hence allow others to follow what has been done, in particular understand the particular choices and assumptions made
  3. 3. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 3 Criteria for Judging such a method • Preserves as much of the meaning in the original data as possible; • Introduces as few distortions as possible; • Is as transparent as possible, that is that when assumptions are used/added they are clear from the report of the procedure and not implicit/hidden; • Is practical as a process and not demanding of impossible or infeasible steps; • Is as systematic as possible, so that others can attempt to retrace a reported analysis; • Is as honest as possible, in that it does not fudge results appearing to do more than it can deliver.
  4. 4. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 4 CSNE Analysis Framework 1. Context: the kind of situation one is in that determines the „bundle‟ of knowledge that is relevant to that kind of situation 2. Scope: what is and is not possible given the current situation and observations 3. Narrative Elements: the narrative elements that are mentioned assuming the context and scope
  5. 5. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 5 Different Aspects Illustrated Universe of Knowledge Knowledge indicated by current cognitive context Knowledge that is possible to apply given circumstances Cause1 & Cause2…  Result1 & Result2… Event1, event2, etc.
  6. 6. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 6 A (simplistic) illustration of context from the point of view of an actor
  7. 7. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 7 Situational vs. Cognitive Context • The situation in which an event takes place • This is indefinitely extensive, it could include anything relevant or coincident • It is almost universal to abstract to what is relevant about these to a recognised type when communicating about this • The brain somehow deals with situational context effectively, abstracting kinds of situations so relevant information can be easily and preferentially accessed • The relevant correlate of the situational context will be called the cognitive context
  8. 8. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 8 The Context Heuristic • The kind of situation is recognised in a rich, fuzzy, complex and unconscious manner • Knowledge, habits, norms etc. are learnt for that kind of situation and are retrieved for it • Reasoning, learning, interaction happens with respect to the recognised kind of situation • Context allows for the world to be dealt with by type of situation, and hence makes reasoning/learning etc. feasible • It is a fallible heuristic with roots in terms of the social coordination of action, norms, habits
  9. 9. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 9 About Scope • By “scope” I mean the reasoning as to which knowledge is possible given the circumstances • For example, if all the seats are taken in a lecture, then the norms, habits and patterns as to where one sits do not apply • Reasoning about scope can be complex and is done consciously • However once judgements about scope are made then they tend to be assumed, unless the situation changes critically
  10. 10. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 10 Scope vs. Cognitive Context • Both scope and cognitive context determine which knowledge is useful for any particular situation that is encountered • However, they play different roles: – CC is learnt using pattern recognition over a long time, but then is largely a „given‟, is almost impossible to change when learnt, is quick and automatic and is socially rooted – Scope is largely reasoned afresh each time, taking effort to do so, is possible to re-evaluate but only if needed, and is more individually oriented
  11. 11. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 11 Identifying and modelling scope • Compared to CC, scope is relatively well studied using formal models of reasoning – e.g. Updating Markoff/state representations of causation, non-monotonic logics, causation in Baysian networks etc. • Scope plays a relatively explicit part in human language, sometimes being explicitly stated, at other times using relatively well understood rules – e.g. conversational implicature • It is often possible to infer participant‟s judgements as to scope and possibility, when not explicitly mentioned
  12. 12. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 12 Narrative Elements A variety of narrative structure elements are possible, including: – Causal stories: A … resulted in … B – Sequences: A … then … B … then C – Choices: had to choose between … A and B – End points: which resulted in A which was a disaster/really good/… – Parallelism: A … happens at the same time as ….B Some possible structures for these suggested by: (Abell 1992) or (Toulmin 2003)
  13. 13. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 13 Some Example Analyses using narrative data stolen from: Bhawani, S. (2004) Adaptive Knowledge Dynamics and Emergent Artificial Societies: Ethnographically Based Multi-Agent Simulations of Behavioural Adaptation in Agro-Climatic Systems. Doctoral Thesis, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK. (linked from „Relevant Papers‟ at http://cfpm.org/qual2rule)
  14. 14. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 14 Hypotheses about relevant contexts for the interviewed stakeholder Different perspectives from which the narratives seem to be told: • “survival” – things are continually getting worse and the primary goal is to keep in farming, battle against nature etc. to avoid bankrupcy • “comfort” – conditions are comfortable with no immediate survival threat, one could stop worrying so much and take things a little easy • “entrepreneur” – one is looking for big profit, taking risks if necessary
  15. 15. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 15 Quote 1 (p. 113) and CSNE Analysis “The one conundrum here is that there are more people in the East who want to … upgrade to more wheat allied products, that may alter the value of the end product to us. You see the worst thing that has happened to us worldwide is the collapse of the Eastern economy... but it is coming back again now and that actually may help us again. It is a great shame because we were getting into the Eastern markets and it was beginning to grow and suddenly it collapsed.”
  16. 16. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 16 Quote 3 (p. 112) I… would imagine that if the summers were warmer and the autumns were wetter you would have an earlier harvest, and therefore all that would happen is that the harvest would come early and your drilling… would come early so that you would still be able to establish your winter crops before the rain really started. If the rains were really early then we would have to resort to spring sown varieties... The net effect would be that you would be drilling as soon as you possibly could which may be later than normal, but because the weather is warmer that would make up for lost time, so harvest would still be about the same time… If the autumn was continuously wet … and we were under water… If it was like this year every year, then yes there could be a problem.
  17. 17. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 17 CSNE Analysis of Quote 3
  18. 18. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 18 Quote 3 (p. 127) and CSNE Analysis “…we have often had this conversation around this table. Some people don't want to maximize profit.... They are happier to take a slightly easier, lower level approach and have an easier life, and not make quite so much money.... And I can relate to that... But because I'm a tenant I don't own my own land... Everything we farm is rented and therefore we have an immediate cost, the first cost we meet is to our landlord and that tends to go up.”
  19. 19. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour, Bruce Edmonds, ESSA 2013, Warsaw. slide 19 Thanks! Bruce Edmonds http://bruce.edmonds.name Centre for Policy Modelling http://cfpm.org Blog/Information on Using qualitative data to inform behavioral rules http://cfpm.org/qual2rule/ These slides at: http://www.slideshare.net/BruceEdmonds

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