Computers that regret (not serving you better)

Tel Aviv University researchers set off to create a more ”human” and responsive PC that would ”learn from its past inadequacies” with the final goal of minimizing the users’ ”regret”. The algorithm is meant to optimize internet traffic as the team leader, Prof. Mansour explains: “If the servers and routing systems of the Internet could see and evaluate all the relevant variables in advance, they could more efficiently prioritize server resource requests, load documents and route visitors to an Internet site, for instance” . This is a matter of interest to Google who  is therefore funding the economists and scientists involved in this endeavour.

No, computers won’t become sad but you might just happier with the final result, as they will be able to measure the distance between the desired outcome and the actual one (this is where the sensing of regret appears) and offer you a better response the next time.

Artificial intelligence

Prof. Mansour has recently developed an algorithm meant to influence the computers’ decision-making process in real time. ”Compared to human beings, help systems can much more quickly process all the available information to estimate the future as events unfold — whether it’s a bidding war on an online auction site, a sudden spike of traffic to a media website, or demand for an online product,” says Prof. Mansour. That’s why Google is interested in the application mainly for its Adwords and Adsense platforms. As Internet users are unpredictable the computers will be more able to adapt to the situation at hand and offer you a result almost as if ”they knew all the variables in advance”.  This enhanced feature triggered the economists’ interest in the project which might enable market players take better decisions when trading (see the Game Theory).

“We are asking how we can give incentives to get bidders and buyers in the auction to behave intelligently, by understanding the dynamics of the auction process,” says Prof. Mansour.

A possible implication for the digital signage is the enhanced performance of  the systems as computers will be to respond better to  tasks they are assigned and to manage Internet traffic better.

Source: and American Friends of Tel Aviv University.

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