Explaining BDI Agent Behaviour Through Dialogue

Louise A. Dennis, Nir Oren* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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8 Citations (Scopus)
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BDI agents act in response to external inputs and their internal plan library. Understanding the root cause of BDI agent action is often difficult, and in this paper we present a dialogue based approach for explaining the behaviour of a BDI agent. We consider two dialogue participants who may have different views regarding the beliefs, plans and external events which drove agent action (encoded via traces). These participants make utterances which incrementally reveal their traces to each other, allowing them to identify divergences in the traces, or to conclude that their traces agree. In practice, we envision a human taking on the role of a dialogue participant, with the BDI agent itself acting as the other participant. The dialogue then facilitates explanation, understanding and debugging of BDI agent behaviour. After presenting our formalism and its properties, we describe our implementation of the system and provide an example of its use in a simple scenario.
Original languageEnglish
Article number29
Number of pages27
JournalAutonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems
Early online date6 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2022

Bibliographical note

This work arose out of conversations at a Lorentz Workshop on the Dynamics of Multi-Agent Systems (2018). Thanks are due Koen Hindriks and Vincent Koeman for their input. The work was supported by the UKRI/EPSRC RAIN [EP/R026084], SSPEDI [EP/P011829/1 ] and FAIR-SPACE [EP/R026092] Robotics and AI Hubs and the Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Verifiability Node [EP/V026801/1]. Both authors contributed equally to the work, and author names are listed in alphabetical order.


  • BDI
  • Explanation
  • Dialogues

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