Organizations of Self-Interested Agents

Foster McGeary, University of Delaware

Organizations are sets of autonomous agents that reach agreements to exchange computational services for value. The formation and operation of organizations is rational and computable, and can be modeled using Artificial Intelligence tools. I extend Multi-Agent Systems technologies by introducing procedures by which sovereign computational agents may form organizations. Organizations formed with the intention to sell products at a profit are taken to be firms, a principal interest of the research. First, domain-level (Virtual Food Court) technologies are created to make products when properly instantiated with the skills and resources (raw materials or other products) they require. Second, agents are endowed with skills that, when applied within technologies, have value derived from the products of the technology. Third, agents negotiate compensation for the application of their skills. Fourth, agents are provided with computable preferences for products and the desire to acquire products to maximize their private welfare. Finally, the agents are permitted to act in accordance with these components and the data they collect themselves. The computational procedures under which sovereign agents exchange data, negotiate skill application and compensation, and make reciprocal commitments are the structures that support the organization of firms among sovereign computational agents.

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