While individual and team taskwork and the critical individual knowledge, skills, and abilities to complete these tasks are expected to transform, to prepare for the future of human-agent teaming, our conceptualization of training for teams and the teamwork competencies critical for enhanced team performance needs to dramatically evolve. Aligned with the focus of this paper on a future teaming concept, we brainstorm several capabilities related to training, development, and continuous learning for teams that may be necessary to help prepare for this future.
Training Teamwork Competencies in Human-Agent Teams.
While human teammates are responsible for different taskwork in future human-agent teams, this will only increase the importance of key teamwork competencies. For example, communication will need to be generalized to build shared understanding and commitment to team goals among humans and intelligent agents. Convergence on shared goals may need to be iterative and not top-down in a scenario in which human team members cannot process the same amount of information at the same timescales as intelligent agents, yet require involvement in the decision-making process. Understanding the critical competencies for human-agent teamwork and advanced methods to train these competencies in humans, agents, and together as a team will be critical to this future vision.
Preparing for and Incorporating Mutual Adaptation.
Variability, evolution, complexity, and adaptation are critical factors prevalent in human-agent teams of the future. In human teams alone, the variability in human states and behaviors over time, as well as external factors, critically impact team outcomes (Kozlowski et al. 2013). This creates a necessity for team members to continually adapt. In the military, unit-focused training is typically designed to eliminate this variability. Targeted toward consistent performance across a sufficient range of scenarios, repeated successful execution of a team task during diverse training scenarios is hoped to maximize the probability of successful execution (or minimize the probability of failure) in unforeseen environments and conditions of the future. However, this approach may not be successful in the complex environments of the future, where on-the-fly decision-making, changes in tactics, and novel organizational forms may be critical to success. Capable of contributing to this advantage, agents can learn and adapt at a pace much faster than that of humans and in manners that human team members may not be able to predict and understand. Yet, with agents as viable team members, humans must fluidly adapt to the potential changing team dynamics as the agent evolves. Capabilities to ensure predictability of learning and symbiotic adaptation between humans and agents that enhance group processes and leads to superior team performance are critical.
Training for Diverse, Rotating, and Evolving Team Members.
With the future human agent teaming vision comes the idea of greater diversity and change in team members and team membership. Specifically, envisioned advantages to these complex teams include the ability to bring together the exact skills and abilities required for a particular mission. Therefore, capabilities are needed for quickly bringing together diverse teams of humans and agents to perform effectively as a group. For example, with long-term, continuous knowledge of existing team members’ preferences, states, and behaviors, an individualized, adaptive agent may be responsible for working with team members to quickly assimilate the individual to the group, efficiently understanding new/changing roles and responsibilities of team members, and promoting heightened shared understanding of the task and situation across the team. Augmented and virtual reality may offer on-the-fly training to a team to quickly rehearse a mission, with continuous monitoring of cognitive states and communication to provide individualized, adaptive instruction when a team member seems have misunderstanding or is out of sync with the group.
Continuous Learning Using Individualized, Adaptive Agents for Enhanced Human-Agent Team Performance.
Related to the capabilities already described is a truly radical transformation in training that necessitates preparation—advanced capabilities to provide continuous training of both taskwork and teamwork skills throughout missions and over time to facilitate dynamic, agile, and adaptive behaviors and superior performance by the team. The concept of a learning organization has been discussed in the literature for decades (Senge 1990), purporting the importance of continuous learning of members and continuous transformation. These concepts are incorporated in military training concepts as well (e.g., Department of the Army, 2017). With individualized, adaptive technologies, intelligent tutoring systems, virtual and augmented reality, and continuously evolving teams, we can conceive of a truly revolutionized capability for continuous learning that can be incorporated into future human-agent teaming concepts.
Call for Comments:
- What are additional capabilities necessary to prepare for future human-agent teaming?
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