Simulating mutual support networks of human and artificial agents

Lenin Medeiros*, Tibor Bosse, Jan Treur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


In this paper, a multi-agent simulation model is presented to investigate the dynamics of ‘mutual-support networks’: online social networks consisting of both humans and artificial agents. Via such networks, human users who are coping with stress can share their problems, via text messages, with human peers as well as ‘artificial friends’. Even though not everybody feels comfortable sharing personal problems with artificial agents, a bot is always available to help human users, and does not face any negative consequence of providing help to stressed peers. Using the simulation model, the dynamics of social networks consisting of an arbitrary combination of humans and agents have been explored under various circumstances. This exploration resulted in several insights that are useful for shaping our vision on artificial friends: (1) humans can provide less emotional support than artificial agents because they have limited emotional resources, (2) the type of support that is provided has a large impact on the human’s stress level, and (3) the more open users are to receiving automated support, the more effective the support is in reducing their stress level. The model was internally validated by means of a mathematical verification.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Informatics
Subtitle of host publication10th International Conference, SocInfo 2018 St. Petersburg, Russia, September 25–28, 2018 Proceedings
EditorsSteffen Staab, Olessia Koltsova, Dmitry I. Ignatov
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9783030011581
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event10th Conference on Social Informatics, SocInfo 2018 - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation
Duration: 25 Sept 201828 Sept 2018

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume11186 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference10th Conference on Social Informatics, SocInfo 2018
Country/TerritoryRussian Federation


  • Computational model
  • Computer-generated emotional support
  • Multi-agent based simulation
  • Stress


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