A virtual conference of two venues: Vienna and Fukuchiyama

Original Call for Papers


Submissions of all categories are invited to the 2021 International Workshop on Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures (BICA Workshop 2021), held at the 21st ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents. BICA Workshop is a part of the 2021 Annual International Conference on Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures, also known as the 12th Annual Meeting of the BICA Society. All events are purely virtual.

Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures (BICA) are computational frameworks for building intelligent agents that are inspired from biological intelligence. Biological intelligent systems, notably animals such as humans, have many qualities that are often lacking in artificially designed systems including robustness, flexibility and adaptability to environments. At a point in time where visibility into naturally intelligent systems is exploding thanks to modern brain imaging and recording techniques, our ability to learn from nature and to build biologically inspired intelligent systems has never been greater. At the same time, the growth in computer science and technology has unleashed enough computational power, that an explosion of intelligent applications from augmented reality to intelligent virtual agents is now certain. The growth in these fields challenges the computational replication of all essential aspects of the human mind (the BICA Challenge), an endeavor which is interdisciplinary in nature and promises to yield bi-directional flow of understanding between all involved disciplines.

Historical Background and the BICA Audience

BICA Conference Series was preceded by the AAAI Fall Symposia on BICA, held in 2008-2009. Originally, participants were mostly the members of the DARPA BICA Program of 2005-2006; however, the audience started expanding rapidly. As a result, in 2010 the BICA Conference Series was initiated as a separate venue, managed by a newly formed nonprofit: BICA Society. For 11 years, the BICA conference was organized around the world (USA, Italy, Ukraine, France, Russia, Czech Republic, Brazil), demonstrating impressive success in growing progression. The conference was complemented by schools and symposia on BICA, in total making 15 separate events. The BICA Society membership reached many hundreds. BICA Society published a number of books and journals, some of them on the regular basis. Even in 2020 when the COVID19 hit, the BICA conference still was a great success in the cyberspace (http://bica2020.org/program/schedule.htm). BICA community today is a well-recognized phenomenon of the scientific world. At the same time, it became reasonable now to limit the size of the conference in order to focus on the most important tasks. Therefore, we decided to try a workshop format in this year.

Workshop Topic and Scope

The scope of the BICA Workshop 2021 will include topics of the cutting-edge problems and challenges on the intersection of Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Modeling and Neuroscience related to the BICA Challenge: stated alternatively, to create a nonbiological human capable of a human-equivalent social life, human-machine equal partnership and a full-fledged integration into the human society at the social level. The general focus of the BICA Workshop 2021 can be defined as “BICA for socially emotional IVA”. More specifically, topics suggested by organizers and prospective participants include (not all of them may be actually used):

  • Cognitive models of emotional intelligence,

  • Machine learning in human-computer social interactions,

  • IVA and cognitive robots with social-emotional intelligence,

  • Psychologically inspired emotional cobots and chatbots,

  • Models of cognitive ontogeny and value system generation,

  • Recognition/expression of emotion in speech, voice, face, gaze, body language,

  • Metrics, tests and criteria for believability and social acceptability of IVA,

  • Identifying the critical mass of a human-level learner,

  • Trust, empathy, emotions and their role in intelligence,

  • Social goal setting as a metacognitive process in BICA,

  • Open-ended active self-regulated learning in BICA,

  • Representation of the Self and emotions in AI,

  • Moral and ethical aspects of human-level-intelligent IVA,

  • Bridging the gap between natural and artificial intelligence.


Relevance to IVA

The term “cognitive architecture” is a synonym of “intelligent agent”. BICAns understand "biological inspirations" broadly, borrowing them from psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, narratology, design and creativity studies in order to advance cognitive robotics and machine learning, among other hot topics in AI. In recent years, the focus of BICA conferences has converged on the study of Intelligent Virtual Agents with social-emotional intelligence. Therefore, the scope of BICA conference series highly overlaps with the scope of IVA conferences. Moreover, BICA is capable of complementing IVA with a number of desirable topics, such as cognitive social robotics, intelligent tutoring systems, cognitive models of emotions and learning. These and other points will be discussed at the BICA+IVA Panel during the BICA Workshop.

We are looking forward to the exciting and productive BICA Workshop at IVA 2021.

With warm regards,


-- Alexei Samsonovich, Taisuke Akimoto, and Junichi Takeno

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