Is it an Agent, or Just a Program?: A Taxonomy for Autonomous Agents

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Stan Franklin, Art Graesser
Jörg P. Müller, Michael J. Wooldridge, Nicholas R. Jennings (eds.)
Intelligent Agents III. Agent Theories, Architectures, and Languages, pages 21-35
Lecture Notes in Computer Science 1193

The advent of software agents gave rise to much discussion of just what such an agent is, and of how they differ from programs in general. Here we propose a formal definition of an autonomous agent which clearly distinguishes a software agent from just any program. We also offer the beginnings of a natural kinds taxonomy of autonomous agents, and discuss possibilities for further classification. Finally, we discuss subagents and multiagent systems.