Delegation to artificial agents fosters prosocial behaviors in the collective risk dilemma

Elias Fernández Domingos, Inês Terrucha, Rémi Suchon, Jelena Grujić, Juan C Burguillo, Tom Lenaerts

Onderzoeksoutput: Articlepeer review

3 Citaten (Scopus)


Home assistant chat-bots, self-driving cars, drones or automated negotiation systems are some of the several examples of autonomous (artificial) agents that have pervaded our society. These agents enable the automation of multiple tasks, saving time and (human) effort. However, their presence in social settings raises the need for a better understanding of their effect on social interactions and how they may be used to enhance cooperation towards the public good, instead of hindering it. To this end, we present an experimental study of human delegation to autonomous agents and hybrid human-agent interactions centered on a non-linear public goods dilemma with uncertain returns in which participants face a collective risk. Our aim is to understand experimentally whether the presence of autonomous agents has a positive or negative impact on social behaviour, equality and cooperation in such a dilemma. Our results show that cooperation and group success increases when participants delegate their actions to an artificial agent that plays on their behalf. Yet, this positive effect is less pronounced when humans interact in hybrid human-agent groups, where we mostly observe that humans in successful hybrid groups make higher contributions earlier in the game. Also, we show that participants wrongly believe that artificial agents will contribute less to the collective effort. In general, our results suggest that delegation to autonomous agents has the potential to work as commitment devices, which prevent both the temptation to deviate to an alternate (less collectively good) course of action, as well as limiting responses based on betrayal aversion.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's12
TijdschriftScientific Reports
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusPublished - 19 mei 2022

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© 2022. The Author(s).


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