IAAIL St. Louis Arch

ICAIL-2001 Workshop on

Regulated Electronic Societies

Saint Louis, Missouri, 25 May, 2001.


Workshop description
Call for papers
Submission instructions
Important dates
Organizing committee
Program committee

Workshop description

As part of the ICAIL-2001 conference, a one-day workshop will be held on the topic of 'regulated electronic societies'. The workshop is intended to bring together researchers in AI & Law, multi-agent research, electronic commerce, and computational social sciences, to see what they can learn form each other with respect to this topic. For the AI & Law community this workshop will provide an exciting opportunity to come into contact with new application areas of their research.

Call for papers

Premise: The Problem of Infosocial Order

In open and complex information societies including diverse agents having different tasks to be carried out within time constraints, the problem of cooperation arises in different contexts:

  • User-agent interaction, where personal assistants need to be trustworthy and congruent with the expectations of human users (Conte & Castelfranchi, 2000).
  • Competitive contexts, like agent-mediated e-commerce, where software agents are used to act in the interest and on behalf of their self-interested users (Rao, 1998; Crabtree, 1998). This generates potential social dilemmas between users' and others' interests which call for social solutions. Among other aspects, a socially unacceptable strategy is sometimes found to produce self-defeating effects in the long run (Crabtree, 1998).
  • Teamwork, which requires individual responsibility for the common task, and therefore commitment (Jennings, 1995) and social control (Kaminka and Tambe, 2000).
Hence, the necessity to build agent architectures which achieve coordination and cooperation, solve potential conflicts, play intermediary roles, reconcile local and global utility, etc. In short, both "human adequacy" and "strict engineering reasons" (Schillo et al. 2000) raise problems of infosocial order. Solutions to these problems may consist of conventions and/or norms or formal laws. In the former, social order results from converging behaviour based upon shared expectations. In the latter, social order is achieved by the fact that the agents' deliberative processes make reference to shared prescriptions, which may possibly be backed systems of incentives and sanctions (as is the case for enforceable laws).

Open Questions

However, solutions pose new problems while solving others. In particular, conventions and norms may be partial, local and even antagonist. Hence, software agents are expected to take the same decision faced by humans in natural societies, i.e. to detect and solve conflicts among incompatible norms, laws and conventions). In addition, institutional laws imply a costly and not always efficient system of centralised control. On the other hand, conventions do not ensure innovation and do not allow for control. Therefore, a number of questions need to be answered:

  • What are the specific problems of social order in e-societies?
  • What are the effects of the solutions implemented so far?
  • Are there differences between norms, conventions and laws? What are their relative costs and benefits?
  • What about "enforcement" and "control"? To what extent existing solutions are successful, and at which cost?
  • Can norms and laws evolve? How to reconcile conventions and innovation?
  • What about institutional competence, i.e. the capacity to recognise, execute norms, solve conflicts among them, etc.?
  • What kind of agent architecture do these phenomena require? What can be solved with learning, adaptive agents, and when are deliberative architectures needed? What about integrated architectures, where deliberative and dynamic components interact? What about implementing moral and social emotions or sentiments?
  • What about social monitoring and control, in comparison with institutional enforcement and control?


The workshop is intended to reach a large audience from different scientific and computational fields, such as AI & Law, deontic logics, computational social sciences, multi-agent systems, and e-commerce. The unifying perspective is provided by our emphasis on agent-based computer simulation, organisations and institutions design and management, agent-mediated interaction (with a special attention to e-commerce and virtual markets), multi-agent systems, info-societies design, AI-based collaborative design. The workshop is also aimed at promoting useful discussion. To this aim, the workshop will consist of a set of symposia on specific topics that will be established by the organisers according to the results of the reviewing process.

Authors are strongly recommended to submit original, although possibly incomplete, work and, if their papers are accepted to participate in a collective discussion about both their own and others' contributions. Both theoretical and empirical works from a wide range of disciplines are encouraged, including AI & Law, logical philosophy, philosophy of law, AI and computer science, cognitive science, evolutionary biology and psychology, philosophy of mind, cognitive psychology, sociology and social psychology, economics, anthropology. Formal-computational and simulation-based works are encouraged on a wide range of topics:

  • Conceptual analysis of conventions, laws, & institutions
  • Natural and e-societies
  • Organisation design and management
  • Collective vs. individual vs. shared obligation, commitment and responsibility
  • Cooperation, commitment and teamwork
  • Coordination
  • Trust and reputation
  • Fraud, exchange and deception
  • Altruism and reciprocity
  • Social and moral emotions
  • Emerging vs. designed institutions
  • Distributed vs. centralised control
  • Enforcing mechanisms
  • Agent architecture: deliberative vs. adaptive

Submission instructions

Papers should be submitted electronically (MS-Word, PostScript or PDF) by email to all three members of the Workshop Organizing Committee.

Important dates

Deadline for submission of contributions: March 1, 2001
Notification of acceptance: April 1, 2001
Final version of paper due: May 1, 2001

Workshop Organizing Committee:

Please contact the Workshop Organizing Committee if you have any questions.

Workshop Program Committee:

Francesco Billari, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany
Jos‚ Carmo, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal
Jos‚ Castro-Caldas, Higher Institute of Labour and Business Studies, Lisbon, Portugal
Aspassia Daskalopulu, King's College London, UK
Chris Dellarocas, MIT Sloan School of Management, USA
Frank Dignum, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Nick Gotts, Macaulay Land Research Institue, Aberdeen, UK
Andrew Jones, University of Oslo, Norway
Jeremy Pitt, Imperial College London, UK
Carles Sierra, Artificial Intelligence Research Insititute, Barcelona, Spain
Raimo Tuomela, University of Helsinki, Finland

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