Explanation-Based Negotiation Protocol for Nutrition Virtual Coaching

by Berk Buzcu, Vanitha Varadhajaran, Igor Tchappi, Amro Najjar, Davide Calvaresi and Reyhan Aydoğan


People’s awareness about the importance of healthy lifestyles is rising. This opens new possibilities for personalized intelligent health and coaching applications. In particular, there is a need for more than simple recommendations and mechanistic interactions. Recent studies have identified nutrition virtual coaching systems (NVC) as a technological solution, possibly bridging technologies such as recommender, informative, persuasive, and argumentation systems. Enabling NVC to explain recommendations and discuss (argument) dietary solutions and alternative items or behaviors is crucial to improve the transparency of these applications and enhance user acceptability and retain their engagement. This study primarily focuses on virtual agents personalizing the generation of food recipes recommendation according to users’ allergies, eating habits, lifestyles, nutritional values, etc. Although the agent would nudge the user to consume healthier food, users may tend to object in favor of tastier food. To resolve this divergence, we propose a user-agent negotiation interacting over the revision of the recommendation (via feedback and explanations) or convincing (via explainable arguments) the user of its benefits and importance. Finally, the paper presents our initial findings on the acceptability and usability of such a system obtained via tests with real users. Our preliminary experimental results show that the majority of the participants appreciate the ability to express their feedback as well as receive explanations of the recommendations, while there is still room for improvement in the persuasiveness of the explanations.

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  author       = {Berk Buzcu and
                  Vanitha Varadhajaran and
                  Igor Tchappi and
                  Amro Najjar and
                  Davide Calvaresi and
                  Reyhan Aydogan},
  editor       = {Reyhan Aydogan and
                  Natalia Criado and
                  J{\'{e}}r{\^{o}}me Lang and
                  V{\'{\i}}ctor S{\'{a}}nchez{-}Anguix and
                  Marc Serramia},
  title        = {Explanation-Based Negotiation Protocol for Nutrition Virtual Coaching},
  booktitle    = {{PRIMA} 2022: Principles and Practice of Multi-Agent Systems - 24th
                  International Conference, Valencia, Spain, November 16-18, 2022, Proceedings},
  series       = {Lecture Notes in Computer Science},
  volume       = {13753},
  pages        = {20--36},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  year         = {2022},
  url          = {https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-21203-1\_2},
  doi          = {10.1007/978-3-031-21203-1\_2},
  timestamp    = {Mon, 05 Dec 2022 13:35:34 +0100},
  biburl       = {https://dblp.org/rec/conf/prima/BuzcuVTNCA22.bib},
  bibsource    = {dblp computer science bibliography, https://dblp.org}