Keynote Speakers:

Topic: The Neural Mechanisms of Value-Based Decision-Making

            Over the course of the last 300 years, three principle groups of scholars have attempted to understand how we make choices. Operating exclusively at the level of observable behavior, economists have developed clear mathematical models that place constraints on the representations of value decision-makers of various types could, in principle, employ. Psychologists, working at the level of mental states, have developed algorithmic models of the choice process. Working at a more mechanistic level, neurobiologists have described the information processing features of the primate brain and traced the flow of information through that circuitry as decisions are made. Within the last 10 years those three traditions have begun to converge, and overlapping constraints from each field have been used to identify many of the core feature of the mechanism of choice. Data from both monkeys and humans now indicates that frontal and basal ganglia circuits learn and store the values of an animals past actions, a process that seems to be critically dependent on the neurotransmitter dopamine. These stored values influence choice through a fronto-parietal network that takes as an input the values of the options before a chooser and generates as an output a motor plan. A more detailed outline of this system and some of the key experimental data serve to identify it will be presented.

Topic: Moving Viewpoint: what makes human subjects different from computer agents?

 Humans observe themselves and others from various viewpoints. This fact has been mentioned in various fields. The results of the Sally-Ann Test (Wimmer and Perner 1983) show that most children sufficiently old can make inferences from another person's viewpoint. Adam Smith (1759) emphasized that humans take the impartial spectator's viewpoint to judge what they themselves and others should do. The Self-projection theory (Bucker and Carroll 2007) claims that humans move their viewpoint freely in the time-space to make decisions. Jumping out of the system (Hoffstadter 1979), or observing the system to which one belongs from the outsider's viewpoint, plays an important role in human thinking.

Such movement of human viewpoint, which is more often unconscious than not, characterizes human thinking. It gives human systems such dynamic stability/predictability and instability/unpredictability that could not be seen in simulations with computer agents. I shall discuss it, referring to my current behavioural and neuroeconomic experiments of intertemporal preference. In relation to this I may also mention economics education and the scientists' viewpoint from which human behaviour is understood.

Topic: Agent Dynamics in Complex Multilevel Systems of Systems of Systems 

Social systems have many levels. Individual people form dynamic subsystems of interacting agents at microlevels. Nations and groups of nations form dynamic systems of interacting agents at macrolevels. Social groups, companies, organisations, federations and institutions form dynamic systems of interacting agents at mesolevels. There are agent interactions between levels, with emergent bottom-up and top-down dynamics. The social universe is formed from systems of systems of systems with ever-changing boundaries. Networks are used extensively to investigate agent interactions. Hypernetworks provide a generalisation of networks that may provide a coherent way of representing systems and their dynamics at many interacting levels. This talk will sketch the theory of hypernetworks and illustrate its application with examples from diverse areas including multi-robot systems, education, city planning, and climate change.