The ability to recognize the plans and goals of other agents enables humans to reason about what other people are doing, why they are doing it, and what they will do next. This fundamental cognitive capability is also critical to interpersonal interactions because human communications presuppose an ability to understand the motivations of the participants and subjects of the discussion. As the complexity of human–machine interactions increases and automated systems become more intelligent, we strive to provide computers with comparable intent-recognition capabilities.

Research addressing this area is variously referred to as plan recognition, activity recognition, goal recognition, and intent recognition. This synergistic ...

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