Researchers at Facebook Teaches AI to Negotiate

Artificial Intelligence over the last couple of years have become increasingly popular area for major tech companies as they started bringing products which rely heavily on the technology. For example, Smart speakers from major companies like Google, Apple and Amazon are making their way to households around the world. While there is still a long way to go before AI related products become more useful, researchers at Facebook have successfully taught bots how to negotiate with humans to bring the best deal.

Recently, researchers published their work and released the open source code to let others know about the latest innovation. In order to train the AI the art of negotiation, researchers used the method of supervised learning and in the process, the bot learned to negotiate in different circumstances. To make the process more interesting, researchers involved in the project had set up the system to ensure that the bot doesn’t walk away from a negotiation without any kind of compensation. Researchers wrote, “Negotiation is simultaneously a linguistic and a reasoning problem, in which an intent must be formulated and then verbally realized. Such dialogs contain both cooperative and adversarial elements, requiring agents to understand and formulate long-term plans and generate utterances to achieve their goals.”

Following the training, the bot was used online to chat with actual people who didn’t even realize that they were talking to a bot. To make things more interesting, researchers found out that the bot was holding conversation for much longer and tried to land the best deal for itself. After a while, the bot started lying in order to get the best deal.

Researchers wrote, “While people can sometimes walk away with no deal, the model in this experiment negotiates until it achieves a successful outcome.”

“There were cases where agents initially feigned interest in a valueless item, only to later “compromise” by conceding it — an effective negotiating tactic that people use regularly,” they added. This means the bots actually learned to lie in order to achieve the most favorable outcome.”

“This behaviour was not programmed by the researchers but was discovered by the bot as a method for trying to achieve its goals,” FAIR said. “The performance of FAIR’s best negotiation agent, which makes use of reinforcement learning and dialog rollouts, matched that of human negotiators. It achieved better deals about as often as worse deals, demonstrating that FAIR’s bots not only can speak English but also think intelligently about what to say.”

While it’s not known for now how the latest development will help the company, it’s more than likely that Facebook in the coming years will join the companies to bring products which depend on similar technology. We have to wait and see how that happens but one thing for sure, the research related to AI just got little more interesting thanks to the latest development.

Featured Image: Pixabay/DrSJS

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