Sociology Department Colloquium: Hirokazu Shirado

Thu November 30th 2017, 12:30 - 1:50pm
Mendenhall 101

Please join us for a colloquium being given by Hirokazu Shirado from Yale University.

Experiments with Coordination and Cooperation in Networked Groups with Bots

Hirokazu Shirado has been studying the inter-individual dynamics of social dilemmas and collective action problems.  His primary approach involves experiments with many thousands of online participants embedded within social networks in small groups.  He is especially interested in understanding the role of individuals in facilitating collective performance, and this work has involved the introduction of simply programmed artificial intelligence (AI) agents (“bots") into the networks, allowing human subjects to interact with them.  His latest experiment examined the functional role of ostensibly irrational behaviors in human coordination.  His results show that bots acting with small levels of randomness and placed in central locations within the networks significantly improve the collective performance of human groups.  He also found that behavioral randomness in bots affects the gameplay of the humans and that the spillover effect can benefit global coordination.  In other words, the bots helped the humans to help themselves. Currently, using this experimental approach, he is investigating the role of social interactions and the use of bots in other collective action phenomena, such as cooperation, resource sharing, and emergency evacuation.