Creating a World for Socio-Cultural Agents

  • Nick DegensEmail author
  • Gert Jan Hofstede
  • John Mc Breen
  • Adrie Beulens
  • Samuel Mascarenhas
  • Nuno Ferreira
  • Ana Paiva
  • Frank Dignum
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8750)


Creating agents that are capable of emulating similar socio-cultural dynamics to those found in human interaction remains as one of the hardest challenges of artificial intelligence. This problem becomes particularly important when considering embodied agents that are meant to interact with humans in a believable and empathic manner. In this article, we introduce a conceptual model for socio-cultural agents, and, based on this model, we present a set of requirements for these agents to be capable of showing appropriate socio-cultural behaviour. Our model differentiates between three levels of instantiation: the interaction level, consisting of elements that may change depending on the people involved, the group level, consisting of elements that may change depending on the group affiliation of the people involved, and the society level, consisting of elements that may change depending on the cultural background of those involved. As such, we are able to have culture alter agents’ social relationships rather than directly determining actions, allowing for virtual agents to act more appropriately in any social or cultural context.


Social Norm Social World Power Distance Social Meaning Symbolic Meaning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was partially supported by European Community (EC) and was funded by the ECUTE (ICT-5-4.2 257666) and SEMIRA projects. This work was also supported by national funds through FCT Fundao para a Cincia e a Tecnologia, under project PEst-OE/EEI/LA0021/2013. The authors are solely responsible for the content of this publication. It does not represent the opinion of the EC, and the EC is not responsible for any use that might be made of data appearing therein.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nick Degens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gert Jan Hofstede
    • 1
  • John Mc Breen
    • 1
  • Adrie Beulens
    • 1
  • Samuel Mascarenhas
    • 2
  • Nuno Ferreira
    • 2
  • Ana Paiva
    • 2
  • Frank Dignum
    • 3
  1. 1.Information TechnologyWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Instituto Superior TécnicoTechnical University of Lisbon INESC-IDLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Information and Computing SciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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