While artificial intelligence (AI) assistants and recommendation algorithms interact with billions of people every day, they still have little understanding of humans. AI application development has long been steeped in a kind of methodological individualism, and even in work involving multiple AI agents, the field has not yet tackled the hard problems of cooperation. Most headline results have come from two-player zero-sum games, such as backgammon, chess, Go, and poker.
In this piece, the authors contend that AI needs social understanding and cooperative intelligence to integrate well into society. They advocate building a science of cooperative AI to prioritize the development of cooperative intelligence that can promote mutually beneficial joint action, even when incentives are not fully aligned.
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