Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 173–209 | Cite as

An inquiry dialogue system

  • Elizabeth BlackEmail author
  • Anthony Hunter


The majority of existing work on agent dialogues considers negotiation, persuasion or deliberation dialogues; we focus on inquiry dialogues, which allow agents to collaborate in order to find new knowledge. We present a general framework for representing dialogues and give the details necessary to generate two subtypes of inquiry dialogue that we define: argument inquiry dialogues allow two agents to share knowledge to jointly construct arguments; warrant inquiry dialogues allow two agents to share knowledge to jointly construct dialectical trees (essentially a tree with an argument at each node in which a child node is a counter argument to its parent). Existing inquiry dialogue systems only model dialogues, meaning they provide a protocol which dictates what the possible legal next moves are but not which of these moves to make. Our system not only includes a dialogue-game style protocol for each subtype of inquiry dialogue that we present, but also a strategy that selects exactly one of the legal moves to make. We propose a benchmark against which we compare our dialogues, being the arguments that can be constructed from the union of the agents’ beliefs, and use this to define soundness and completeness properties that we show hold for all inquiry dialogues generated by our system.


Agent interaction Argumentation Inquiry Dialogue Cooperation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.COSSAC: IRC in Cognitive Science and Systems Engineering, Department of Engineering ScienceUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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