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Friday, February 11, 2022

Social Neuro AI: Social Interaction As the "Dark Matter" of AI

S. Bolotta & G. Dumas
Originally published 4 JAN 22


We are making the case that empirical results from social psychology and social neuroscience along with the framework of dynamics can be of inspiration to the development of more intelligent artificial agents. We specifically argue that the complex human cognitive architecture owes a large portion of its expressive power to its ability to engage in social and cultural learning. In the first section, we aim at demonstrating that social learning plays a key role in the development of intelligence. We do so by discussing social and cultural learning theories and investigating the abilities that various animals have at learning from others; we also explore findings from social neuroscience that examine human brains during social interaction and learning. Then, we discuss three proposed lines of research that fall under the umbrella of Social NeuroAI and can contribute to developing socially intelligent embodied agents in complex environments. First, neuroscientific theories of cognitive architecture, such as the global workspace theory and the attention schema theory, can enhance biological plausibility and help us understand how we could bridge individual and social theories of intelligence. Second, intelligence occurs in time as opposed to over time, and this is naturally incorporated by the powerful framework offered by dynamics. Third, social embodiment has been demonstrated to provide social interactions between virtual agents and humans with a more sophisticated array of communicative signals. To conclude, we provide a new perspective on the field of multiagent robot systems, exploring how it can advance by following the aforementioned three axes.


At the crossroads of robotics, computer science, and psychology, one of the main challenges for humans is to build autonomous agents capable of participating in cooperative social interactions. This is important not only because AI will play a crucial role in our daily life, but also because, as demonstrated by results in social neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, intrapersonal intelligence is tightly connected with interpersonal intelligence, especially in humans Dumas et al. [2014a]. In this opinion article, we have attempted to unify the lines of research that, at the moment, are separated from each other; in particular, we have proposed three research directions that are expected to enhance efficient exchange of information between agents and, as a consequence, individual intelligence (especially in out-of-distribution generalization: OOD). This would contribute to creating agents that not only do have humanlike OOD skills, but are also able to exhibit such skills in extremely complex and realistic environments Dennis et al.
[2021], while interacting with other embodied agents and with humans.