Toward Social Situation Awareness in Support Agents

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Artificial agents that support people in their daily activities (e.g., virtual coaches and personal assistants) are increasingly prevalent. Since many daily activities are social in nature, support agents should understand a user's social situation to offer comprehensive support. However, there are no systematic approaches for developing support agents that are social situation aware. We identify key requirements for a support agent to be social situation aware and propose steps to realize those requirements. These steps are presented through a conceptual architecture centered on two key ideas: 1) conceptualizing social situation awareness as an instantiation of "general" situation awareness, and 2) using situation taxonomies for such instantiation. This enables support agents to represent a user's social situation, comprehend its meaning, and assess its impact on the user's behavior. We discuss empirical results supporting the effectiveness of the proposed approach and illustrate how the architecture can be used in support agents through two use cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-58
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Intelligent Systems
Issue number5
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


This thesis is part of the research programme CoreSAEP, with project number 639.022.416, which is financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).


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