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difficulties that arise during the negotiation process. In fact, it may demonstrate the complexity of negotiation
and the modeling of the environment.
Each of the two sides has his or her own
preferences, which might or might not
be known to the other party. And if some
of these preferences conflict, reaching
an agreement requires a certain degree
of cooperation or concession.
Keeping all this in mind, negotiation is an attractive environment for
automated agents. The many benefits
of such agents include alleviating some
of the efforts required of humans during negotiations and assisting individuals who are less qualified in the negotiation process, or in some situations,
replacing human negotiators altogether. Another possibility is for people
embarking on important negotiation
tasks to use these agents as a training tool, prior to actually performing
the task. Thus, success in developing
an automated agent with negotiation
capabilities has great advantages and
implications. The design of automated
agents that proficiently negotiate is a
challenging task, as there are different environments and constraints that
should be considered.
The negotiation environment defines the specific settings of the negotiation. Based on these settings, different considerations should then be
taken into account. In this article, we
focus on the question of whether an automated agent can proficiently negotiate with human negotiators. To this
end we define a proficient automated
negotiator as one that can achieve
the best possible agreement for itself.
This, of course, also depends on the
preferences of the other party and thus
adds complexity to the design of such
IllustratIon by darK GeoMetry art studIo, IstoCKPHoto.CoM
Exciting research in the design of automated
negotiators is making great progress.
neGotiAtions sURRoUnD oUR everyday life, usually
without us even noticing them. they can be simple
and ordinary, as in haggling over a price in the market
or deciding on a meeting time; or they can be complex
and extraordinary, perhaps involving international
disputes and nuclear disarmament14 issues that affect
the well-being of millions.
While the ability to negotiate successfully is critical
for any social interaction, the act of negotiation is not
an easy task. Something that might be perceived as
a “simple” case of a single-issue bilateral bargaining
over a price in the marketplace can demonstrate the
The negotiation environment
The designer of an automated agent
must take into account the environment in which the agent will operate.
The environment determines several
parameters that dictate the number of
negotiators taking part in the negotia-