We all of us have to negotiate – whether formally, as part of our jobs, or informally, as part of our everyday lives – and the outcomes of our negotiations have direct and often dramatic consequences, for us and others. However, it is surely a safe bet that most of us wish we were better negotiators. There are many reasons why we might not be as good at negotiating as we would wish. For one thing, it is often hard for us to really understand the issues at stake and the consequences of various potential settlements, and for this reason we can end up with outcomes that are not as good as those that we might in fact have been able to obtain. Moreover, in many cultures, negotiation is regarded as greedy or impolite, and as a consequence, some people may find it socially awkward or stressful to negotiate. Cultural inhibitions like these can prevent us from obtaining the best outcome even when the topic of negotiation is of great importance to us. Wouldn't it be wonderful, then, if we had computers that could effectively negotiate on our behalf…? In short, the main aim of this book is to investigate this idea.
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