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DIS Research Seminars



Research Talk by Anthony Hunter

By Antonios Bikakis, on 19 January 2024

Towards Computational Persuasion for Behaviour Change Applications.

The talk was delivered on 22 November 2024 by Prof. Anthony Hunter, Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the Department of Computer Science, University College London, as part of the DIS research seminars series.

The aim of behaviour change is to help people to change aspects of their behaviour for the better (e.g., to decrease calorie intake, to drink in moderation, to take more exercise, to complete a course of antibiotics once started, etc.). Recent developments in computational modelling of argument (a subfield of AI) are leading to technology for persuasion that can potentially be harnessed in behaviour change applications. Using this technology, a software system and a user can exchange arguments in a dialogue. So the system gains information about the user’s perspective, provides arguments to fill gaps in the user’s knowledge, and attempts to overturn misconceptions held by the user. Our work has focused on modelling the beliefs and concerns of the user, and harnessing these to make the best choices of move during the dialogue for persuading the user to change their behaviour. We have also been investigating how we can harness recent developments in large language models to provide a natural language interface to this technology. In this talk, I will provide an overview of our approach together with some promising preliminary results with participants.

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