vBroker: Agents Teaching Stock Market
On our poster we give an overview of our project vBroker, an effort aimed at familiarizing the Hungarian public with the workings of the stock market. vBroker was a year-long service that consisted of an e-learning portal with material on financial markets, enhanced by the presence of an intelligent tutoring agent (an intelligent chatter robot connected to a specialized knowledge base and with responses based on emotional modeling of the user). In addition, the portal also hosted a virtual stock market based on multi-agent based simulation.
In vBroker the chatter robot is used in two functions. It helps website navigation and also serves as a tutoring agent. In its latter function, it can draw the user’s attention to understudied topics, it is able to get engaged in conversations on the subject, and provides feedback about test results. In addition, the agent also serves as a virtual broker assisting the user in its effort of accumulating virtual wealth on the virtual stock market. This virtual broker can answer questions about the current trends and prices on the market and also provides feedback about the performance of the user’s portfolio.
In contrast to the high number of online stock market games hosted by the Internet in the past, the vBroker participatory stock market applied real trading rules, realistic market institutions and infrastructure. Moreover, the simulated market was rooted in an ‘artificial economy’. This was achieved by a heterogeneous multi-agent system, where human and artificial agents traded together. For example, artificial agents ensured market liquidity and realistic price movements, in addition to competing with human participants for greater wealth. We try to describe the vBroker portal as a whole, giving an overview of its main modules and discussing its e-learning module and its artificial stock market in more detail. In both parts we are focusing on the role of the tutoring agent, who is a mediator between the user and the e-learning material, and the user and the virtual stock market.