Communication in Decision Making: Competition favors Inequality

Abstract

We consider a multi-agent system in which the individual goal is to collect resources, but where the amount of collected resources depends also on others decision. Agents can communicate and can take advantage of being communicated other agents plan: therefore they may develop more profitable strategies. We wonder if some kind of collective behaviour, with respect to communication, emerges in this system without being explicitly promoted. To investigate this aspect, we design three different scenarios, respectively a cooperative, a competitive, and a mixed one, in which agents behaviors are individually learned by means of reinforcement learning. We consider different strategies concerning communication and learning, including no-communication, always-communication, and optional-communication. Experimental results show that always-communication leads to a collective behaviour with the best results in terms of both overall earned resources and equality between agents. On the other hand optional-communication strategy leads to similar collective strategies in some of these scenarios, but in other scenarios some agents develop individual behaviours that oppose to the collective welfare and thus result in high inequality.

Publication
Annual Conference on Artificial Life