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Nick Jennings

Vice-Provost for Research, Imperial College London Former UK government’s Chief Scientific Advisor for National Security
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Human-Artificial Intelligence Partnerships
As computation increasingly pervades the world around us, it is profoundly changing the ways in which we work with computers. Forging an effective partnership is central to this. However, until now, humans have been the masters and technology the slave. This needs to change. Today’s AI systems can act on high-level human commands and achieve complex goals in a flexible manner. But, while such systems are good at solving narrowly defined tasks, they don’t know how to collaborate with humans or how to operate as part of a problem-solving team. This talk will explore how humans and AI systems (aka software agents) can work together. In such human-agent collectives (HACs) the humans and the agents complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, leading to a rise in the humans, as well as in the agents. Drawing on multi-disciplinary work in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, crowd sourcing and ubiquitous computing, this talk explores the science needed to understand, build and apply HACs. It also discusses their broader societal impact when the AI directs the humans and when it replaces the humans.

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Professor Nick Jennings CB, FREng is Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) at Imperial College. He is responsible for promoting, supporting and facilitating the College's research performance and for leading on the delivery of the Research Strategy. Nick also holds a chair in Artificial Intelligence in the Departments of Computing and Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Before joining Imperial, Nick was the Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton and the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor for National Security. Professor Jennings is an internationally-recognized authority in the areas of artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, cybersecurity and agent-based computing. His research covers both the science and the engineering of intelligent systems. He has undertaken fundamental research on automated bargaining, mechanism design, trust and reputation, coalition formation, human-agent collectives and crowd sourcing. He has also pioneered the application of multi-agent technology; developing real-world systems in domains such as business process management, smart energy systems, sensor networks, disaster response, telecommunications, citizen science and defense.

In undertaking this research, he has attracted grant income of over £25M (mainly from EPSRC), published more than 600 articles (with some 350 co-authors) and graduated 44 PhD students (including two winners and one runner-up of the BCS/CPHC Distinguished Dissertation Award). With over 70,000 citations and an h-index of 114, he is recognised as highly cited by ISI Web of Science in both the Engineering and the Computer Science categories. He has received a number of international awards for his research: the Computers and Thought Award, the ACM Autonomous Agents Research Award and an IEE Achievement Medal. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the British Computer Society, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (formerly the IEE), the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB), the German AI Institute (DFKI) and the European Artificial Intelligence Association (EurAI) and a member of Academia Europaea and the UK Computing Research Committee (UKCRC). He was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List in 2016 for his services to computer science and national security science.

Nick is  an advisor to aerogility,  crossword cybersecurity, contact engine, reliance cyber systems and mentat. He was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems and a founding director of the International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems. He has also led teams that have won competitions in the areas of: the Iterated Prisoners' Dilemma (the 20th Anniversary competitions in 2004 and 2005), RoboCup Rescue (the Infrastructure competition in 2007), Agent Trust and Reputation (the ART competitions in 2006 and 2007), the Lemonade Stand Game (2009 and 2010), competing marketplaces (2007), and technology-mediated social mobilization and rapid information gathering (the US Department of State's TAG Challenge in 2012).

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