Multi-Principal Assistance Games

ICML 2020

Assistance games (also known as cooperative inverse reinforcement learning games) have been proposed as a model for beneficial AI, wherein a robotic agent must act on behalf of a human principal but is initially uncertain about the humans payoff function. This paper studies multi-principal assistance games, which cover the more general case in which the robot acts on behalf of N humans who may have widely differing payoffs. Impossibility theorems in social choice theory and voting theory can be applied to such games, suggesting that strategic behavior by the human principals may complicate the robots task in learning their payoffs. We analyze in particular a bandit apprentice game in which the humans act first to demonstrate their individual preferences for the arms and then the robot acts to maximize the sum of human payoffs. We explore the extent to which the cost of choosing suboptimal arms reduces the incentive to mislead, a form of natural mechanism design. In this context we propose a social choice method that uses shared control of a system to combine preference inference with social welfare optimization. Speakers: Arnaud Fickinger