Beyond goal-rationality: Traditional action can reduce volatility in socially situated agents

Chloe M. Barnes*, Anikó Ekárt, Peter R. Lewis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Systems that pursue their own goals in shared environments can indirectly affect one another in unanticipated ways, such that the actions of other systems can interfere with goal-achievement. As humans have evolved to achieve goals despite interference from others in society, we thus endow socially situated agents with the capacity for social action as a means of mitigating interference in co-existing systems. We demonstrate that behavioural and evolutionary volatility caused by indirect interactions of goal-rational agents can be reduced by designing agents in a more socially-sensitive manner. We therefore challenge the assumption that designers of intelligent systems typically make, that goal-rationality is sufficient for achieving goals in shared environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-596
Number of pages18
JournalFuture Generation Computer Systems
Early online date17 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • Interference
  • Neuroevolution
  • Social action
  • Socio-technical systems


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