Communication, Coordination, and Computation in Human Interaction
Human sociality is distinctive in kind and degree: We teach, learn, communicate, and coordinate in ways and at a scale that is rarely observed in other species. How does this work? What cognitive capacities enable us to flexibly coordinate our thoughts and behaviors in everyday interactions and even over generations? Much work in psychology and cognitive science addresses this question theoretically and empirically. Meanwhile, recent advances in artificial intelligence challenge us to articulate how one would program such capacities into a machine. In this talk, I will discuss several projects that apply computational principles to understanding the mechanisms of human communication and coordination. For example, by formulating and testing the computations underlying communicative intentions and recursive social reasoning, we can gain greater empirical insight into what makes human communication successful, what makes it computationally challenging, and even what causes it to sometimes fail.