- Pp. 48-81 (34)Fernando Lopes
Negotiation is a process of opportunistic interaction by which two or more parties seek a solution for a divergence of interests through jointly decided action. Traditional negotiation, conducted face-to-face and via telephone or mail, is a critically important activity in all realms of human interaction and often proceeds through several distinct phases or stages—notably a beginning or initiation phase, a middle or problem-solving phase, and an ending or resolution phase. Automated negotiation, conducted autonomously by software agents representing individuals or organizations, is an active area of research in artificial intelligence and computer science generally. Increasingly, automated negotiation systems help in achieving efficient agreements—examples, to mention a few, include the business trend toward agent-based supply chain management, the pivotal role that electronic commerce is increasingly assuming in many organizations, and the industrial trend toward virtual enterprises. This chapter discusses and analyses some of the key negotiation techniques for software agents, placing emphasis on both the early stages of negotiation and the process of moving toward agreement.