An autonomous agent is an intelligent agent operating on an owner's behalf but without any interference of that ownership entity. An Intelligent agent, however appears according to a multiply cited statement in a no longer accessible IBM white paper as follows:
Intelligent agents are software entities that carry out some set of operations on behalf of a user or another program with some degree of independence or autonomy, and in so doing, employ some knowledge or representation of the user's goals or desires
Examples of software agents
All of the examples are used from wikipedia
- Buyer agents (shopping bots)
- User agents (personal agents)
- Monitoring-and-surveillance (predictive) agents
- Data-mining agents
Buyer agents (shopping bots)
Buyer agents travel around a network (e.g. the internet) retrieving information about goods and services. These agents, also known as 'shopping bots', work very efficiently for commodity products such as CDs, books, electronic components, and other one-size-fits-all products. Buyer agents are typically optimized to allow for digital payment services used in e-commerce and traditional businesses.
User agents (personal agents)
User agents, or personal agents, are intelligent agents that take action on your behalf. In this category belong those intelligent agents that already perform, or will shortly perform, the following tasks:
- Check your e-mail, sort it according to the user's order of preference, and alert you when important emails arrive.
- Play computer games as your opponent or patrol game areas for you.
- Assemble customized news reports for you. There are several versions of these, including CNN.
- Find information for you on the subject of your choice.
- Fill out forms on the Web automatically for you, storing your information for future reference
- Scan Web pages looking for and highlighting text that constitutes the "important" part of the information there
- Discuss topics with you ranging from your deepest fears to sports
- Facilitate with online job search duties by scanning known job boards and sending the resume to opportunities who meet the desired criteria
- Profile synchronization across heterogeneous social networks
Monitoring-and-surveillance (predictive) agents
Monitoring and Surveillance Agents are used to observe and report on equipment, usually computer systems. The agents may keep track of company inventory levels, observe competitors' prices and relay them back to the company, watch stock manipulation by insider trading and rumors, etc.
This agent uses information technology to find trends and patterns in an abundance of information from many different sources. The user can sort through this information in order to find whatever information they are seeking. A data mining agent operates in a data warehouse discovering information. A 'data warehouse' brings together information from lots of different sources. "Data mining" is the process of looking through the data warehouse to find information that you can use to take action, such as ways to increase sales or keep customers who are considering defecting. 'Classification' is one of the most common types of data mining, which finds patterns in information and categorizes them into different classes. Data mining agents can also detect major shifts in trends or a key indicator and can detect the presence of new information and alert you to it. For example, the agent may detect a decline in the construction industry for an economy; based on this relayed information construction companies will be able to make intelligent decisions regarding the hiring/firing of employees or the purchase/lease of equipment in order to best suit their firm.
- Outline the role of autonomous agents acting within a larger system.