International Journal of Social Robotics

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 5-26

First online:

Acting Deceptively: Providing Robots with the Capacity for Deception

  • Alan R. WagnerAffiliated withGeorgia Institute of TechnologyGeorgia Tech Research Institute Email author 
  • , Ronald C. ArkinAffiliated withGeorgia Institute of Technology

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Deception is utilized by a variety of intelligent systems ranging from insects to human beings. It has been argued that the use of deception is an indicator of theory of mind (Cheney and Seyfarth in Baboon Metaphysics: The Evolution of a Social Mind, 2008) and of social intelligence (Hauser in Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 89:12137–12139, 1992). We use interdependence theory and game theory to explore the phenomena of deception from the perspective of robotics, and to develop an algorithm which allows an artificially intelligent system to determine if deception is warranted in a social situation. Using techniques introduced in Wagner (Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI 2009), 2009), we present an algorithm that bases a robot’s deceptive action selection on its model of the individual it’s attempting to deceive. Simulation and robot experiments using these algorithms which investigate the nature of deception itself are discussed.


Deception Game theory Interdependence theory Interaction Hide-and-seek Theory of mind