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Intelligent agents are programs that carry out a task unsupervised and apply some degree of intelligence to the task. The intelligence may be pretty minimal but often will include some degree of learning from past experience. For example, an agent that searches the Internet for interesting material can be told by the user whether what it found was interesting or not. In this way it can be trained to be more successful in the future.Some intelligent agents can also interact with one another. There is considerable ongoing research in this field, with many exciting possibilities.
Intelligent, and frequently autonomous and mobile, computer code known as agents represent the next great wave of innovation and development across the Infosphere comprised of the Internet, Intranets, Extranets, World Wide Web, and countless other networked computer systems. This arena has increasingly become very active, rapidly evolving, and expanding in scope and importance. The technology is expected to eventually have an effect as profound as the World Wide Web. The Agent Society is a new international industry and professional organization established to assist in the widespread development and emergence of intelligent agent technologies and markets. It's members consist of leading companies and institutions in the agent field, working together under a non-profit organization aegis.
Multiagent systems arise in human societies, biological ecosystems, the immune system and distributed computation. While very different in detail they all face the issue of producing complex global behavior through the local interactions of their constituent parts. This is particularly problematic since the individual parts have only a limited view of the system as a whole.
Agent-based systems require new thinking, to avoid both security holes and unexpected global effects. When agent-based systems are combined with electronic commerce, the need for all aspects of security is particularly strong.
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