Navigating Team Cognition: Goal Terrain as Living Map to Situation Awareness

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Melissa CarrawayVictoria ChangNathan HahnSusan Campbell

Abstract: Deficits remain that preclude us from fully realizing effective teaming with autonomous systems, especially for hybrid teams of both humans and machine agents. One major impediment to agents assisting human users lies in the mutually intelligible communication of intent.How can we design agents to function in a more naturalistic way, with the ability to reason better about shared goals, and to perform necessary teamwork skills?To this end, we review the literature for teamwork models and team cognition in support of coordination and goal-centered reasoning. Then, we focus specifically on those processes and actions that enable bi-directional human machine communications for the development of shared situation awareness. From here, we develop an operational concept of Goal Terrain as an interaction mode that exists as both a reference product and as a method for communicating situation awareness in the form of events, status updates, and projections of goal-related outcomes. Goal Terrain is conceptualized as a schemata for representing team and individual goals to both human and machine agents, and it entails a graphic depiction of goals and subgoals, progress made against those goals, and projections about future feasibility and outcomes. It also includes a system for information sharing, to include notifications, alerts, and alarms intended to contextualize updated information to strengthen the development of mental models, highlight changes in the environment, and improve projections of outcomes. We expect that having a shared representation of the abstract tactical situation, shared goals, and associated risks to mission success will shorten communication time between agents. Framing events and updates in the context of objectives should improve team agility and responsiveness by allowing more tacit thought processes, intentions, and expectations to be communicated.Through the use of Goal Terrain, machine and human agents will be able to mutually support one another, create a greater sense of mutual predictability, and mutually adapt to dynamic needs and negotiate next steps. Human and machine agents alike will be able to proactively offer mutual assistance to one another by better monitoring individual and team activity and the relationships between subgoals and main goals. Agents will have a greater ability to offer insight and ask for guidance as appropriate, as they will have more information to work from regarding plan execution. Providing autonomous agents with enhanced context and a shared representation of goals and progress that they can query will reduce human interaction and intervention requirements. Agents with the ability to manipulate and represent goals in common with human agents should help to mitigate the problems of mixed-initiative interactions by managing the uncertainties of agent goals, focus of attention, plans, and status. In this paper, we construct a framework for how Goal Terrain might be utilized by different parties, human and agent alike, to accomplish shared tasks and outline how this might be tested to create a shared understanding in dynamic and uncertain environments.

Keywords: human, machine teaming, mutli, agent teaming, situation awareness, situation representation, teamwork, team cognition

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003741

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