How and Why to Manipulate Your Own Agent: On the Incentives of Users of Learning AgentsDownload PDF

Published: 31 Oct 2022, Last Modified: 14 Dec 2022NeurIPS 2022 AcceptReaders: Everyone
Keywords: Regret minimization, Meta games, User incentives, Parameter manipulation, Learning agents, Algorithmic game theory, Multi-agent systems
TL;DR: We propose a framework to analyze the incentives of users of automated learning agents in online strategic interactions and demonstrate a broad range of phenomena where users have incentives to misreport their parameters to their own agents.
Abstract: The usage of automated learning agents is becoming increasingly prevalent in many online economic applications such as online auctions and automated trading. Motivated by such applications, this paper is dedicated to fundamental modeling and analysis of the strategic situations that the users of automated learning agents are facing. We consider strategic settings where several users engage in a repeated online interaction, assisted by regret-minimizing learning agents that repeatedly play a "game" on their behalf. We propose to view the outcomes of the agents' dynamics as inducing a "meta-game" between the users. Our main focus is on whether users can benefit in this meta-game from "manipulating" their own agents by misreporting their parameters to them. We define a general framework to model and analyze these strategic interactions between users of learning agents for general games and analyze the equilibria induced between the users in three classes of games. We show that, generally, users have incentives to misreport their parameters to their own agents, and that such strategic user behavior can lead to very different outcomes than those anticipated by standard analysis.
Supplementary Material: zip
12 Replies