Norm Governed Agents In CSCW

Kecheng Liu and Alan Dix
School of Computing, Staffordshire University
PO Box 334, Stafford, ST18 0DG, UK.,

Paper presented at the 1st International Workshop on Computational Semiotics, 26th - 27th May, 1997 Pole Universitaire Leonard de Vinci, PARIS - LA DEFENSE - FRANCE.

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Full reference:

K. Liu and A. Dix (1997).
Norm governed agents for CSCW.
1st International Workshop on Computational Semiotics, Paris.


Information systems are organisations in which signs are created, processed and consumed for social and economic purposes. In order to fulfil the organisational goals and objectives, members within an organisation must understand their responsibilities and authorities, and must act cooperatively. The key to this organisation and coordination lies in norms which define responsibilities and authorities for each human agent, and establish regularities of behaviour. In the context of computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), where "intelligent" software agents are involved, to understand the norms of behaviour of various human agents becomes critical. Software agents can perform some tasks autonomously on the useršs behalf. but this autonomy is the result of delegation of job-functions and responsibilities within that useršs authority. Such delegation involves a set of complicated philosophical and legal issues. Following discussion on delineation of various boundaries of responsibility and authorities, this paper addresses norms and normative behaviour of human agents within an organisation. Taxonomies of norms are discussed. A method of norm specification using deontic operators is described, supported by a series of examples of banking and email.

Alan Dix 7/7/97