TitleManaging Conflict Resolution in Norm-Regulated Environments
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsKollingbaum MJ, Vasconcelos WW, García-Camino A, Norman T
Conference NameLecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence
Volume(In press)

Norms are the obligations, permissions and prohibitions as- sociated with members of a society. Norms provide a useful abstraction with which to specify and regulate the behaviour of self-interested soft- ware agents in open, heterogeneous systems. Any realistic account of norms must address their dynamic nature: the norms associated with agents will change as agents act (and interact) – prohibitions can be lifted, obligations can be fulfilled, and permissions can be revoked as a result of agents’ actions. These norms may at times conflict with one an- other, that is, an action may be simultaneously prohibited and obliged (or prohibited and permitted). Such conflicts cause norm-compliant agents to experience a paralysis: whatever they do (or not do) will go against a norm. In this paper we present mechanisms to detect and resolve normative conflicts. We achieve more expressiveness, precision and re- alism in our norms by using constraints over first-order variables. The mechanisms to detect and resolve norm conflicts take into account such constraints and are based on first-order unification and constraint sat- isfaction. We also explain how the mechanisms can be deployed in the management of norms regulating environments for software agents.