The human ability to coordinate and cooperate has been vital to the development of societies for thousands of years. While it is not fully clear how this behavior arises, social norms are thought to be a key factor in this development. In contrast to laws set by authorities, norms tend to evolve in a bottom-up manner from interactions between members of a society. While much behavior can be explained through the use of social norms, it is difficult to measure the extent to which they shape society as well as how they are affected by other societal dynamics. In this paper, we discuss the design and evaluation of a reinforcement learning model for understanding how the opportunity to choose who you interact with in a society affects the overall societal outcome and the strength of social norms. We first study the emergence of norms and then the emergence of cooperation in presence of norms. In our model, agents interact with other agents in a society in the form of repeated matrix-games: coordination games and cooperation games. In particular, in our model, at each each stage, agents are either able to choose a partner to interact with or are forced to interact at random and learn using policy gradients.
In the future, artificial learning agents are likely to become increasingly widespread in our society. They will interact with both other learning agents and humans in a variety of complex settings including social dilemmas. We consider the problem of how an external agent can promote cooperation between artificial learners by distributing additional rewards and punishments based on observing the learners' actions. We propose a rule for automatically learning how to create right incentives by considering the players' anticipated parameter updates. Using this learning rule leads to cooperation with high social welfare in matrix games in which the agents would otherwise learn to defect with high probability. We show that the resulting cooperative outcome is stable in certain games even if the planning agent is turned off after a given number of episodes, while other games require ongoing intervention to maintain mutual cooperation. However, even in the latter case, the amount of necessary additional incentives decreases over time.
Multi-agent settings are quickly gathering importance in machine learning. This includes a plethora of recent work on deep multi-agent reinforcement learning, but also can be extended to hierarchical RL, generative adversarial networks and decentralised optimisation. In all these settings the presence of multiple learning agents renders the training problem non-stationary and often leads to unstable training or undesired final results. We present Learning with Opponent-Learning Awareness (LOLA), a method in which each agent shapes the anticipated learning of the other agents in the environment. The LOLA learning rule includes an additional term that accounts for the impact of one agent's policy on the anticipated parameter update of the other agents. Preliminary results show that the encounter of two LOLA agents leads to the emergence of tit-for-tat and therefore cooperation in the iterated prisoners' dilemma, while independent learning does not. In this domain, LOLA also receives higher payouts compared to a naive learner, and is robust against exploitation by higher order gradient-based methods. Applied to repeated matching pennies, LOLA agents converge to the Nash equilibrium. In a round robin tournament we show that LOLA agents can successfully shape the learning of a range of multi-agent learning algorithms from literature, resulting in the highest average returns on the IPD. We also show that the LOLA update rule can be efficiently calculated using an extension of the policy gradient estimator, making the method suitable for model-free RL. This method thus scales to large parameter and input spaces and nonlinear function approximators. We also apply LOLA to a grid world task with an embedded social dilemma using deep recurrent policies and opponent modelling. Again, by explicitly considering the learning of the other agent, LOLA agents learn to cooperate out of self-interest.
Social dilemmas, where mutual cooperation can lead to high payoffs but participants face incentives to cheat, are ubiquitous in multi-agent interaction. We wish to construct agents that cooperate with pure cooperators, avoid exploitation by pure defectors, and incentivize cooperation from the rest. However, often the actions taken by a partner are (partially) unobserved or the consequences of individual actions are hard to predict. We show that in a large class of games good strategies can be constructed by conditioning one's behavior solely on outcomes (ie. one's past rewards). We call this consequentialist conditional cooperation. We show how to construct such strategies using deep reinforcement learning techniques and demonstrate, both analytically and experimentally, that they are effective in social dilemmas beyond simple matrix games. We also show the limitations of relying purely on consequences and discuss the need for understanding both the consequences of and the intentions behind an action.
Deep reinforcement learning (DRL) has achieved outstanding results in recent years. This has led to a dramatic increase in the number of applications and methods. Recent works have explored learning beyond single-agent scenarios and have considered multiagent scenarios. Initial results report successes in complex multiagent domains, although there are several challenges to be addressed. In this context, first, this article provides a clear overview of current multiagent deep reinforcement learning (MDRL) literature. Second, it provides guidelines to complement this emerging area by (i) showcasing examples on how methods and algorithms from DRL and multiagent learning (MAL) have helped solve problems in MDRL and (ii) providing general lessons learned from these works. We expect this article will help unify and motivate future research to take advantage of the abundant literature that exists in both areas (DRL and MAL) in a joint effort to promote fruitful research in the multiagent community.