Project Details: Robot Deception

Researchers: Alan Wagner and Ronald Arkin

Deception has a long and important history with respect to the study of intelligent systems. Primatologists note that the use of deception serves as an important potential indicator of theory of mind. From a roboticist's perspective, the use and detection of deception is an important area of study especially with respect to military domains.

But what is deception? Bond and Robinson define deception as a false communication that tends to benefit the communicator.

In this project we use both game and interdependence theory as tools for exploring the phenomena of deception. More specifically, we use an interdependence theory framework and game theoretic notation to develop algorithms which allow a robot or artificial agent to recognize situations that warrant deception and to select the best deceptive strategy given knowledge of the mark (the individual being deceived). We use both simulation and experiments involving real robots to test the hypothesis that the effectiveness of a deceiver's strategy is related to the amount of knowledge the deceiver has concerning the mark.

Our methodological approach of moving from definition, to representation, to algorithm ensures general applicability of our results to robots, agents, or possibly humans. Moreover, our exploration of the phenomena of deception suggests methods by which deception can be reduced.

This project also considers the ethical ramifications of creating robot's capable of deception.