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See IntelligentAgent. Actually, maybe not. A Smart Card has a chip on it, but it doesn't have processing power. I call my agents StupidAgents, because they have little, or at least easily-scripted, decision-making power, and can by no means be considered IntelligentAgents by ArtificialIntelligence standards, but the prefix "Smart-" tends to go to "having added computing power", not showing any sort of ArtificialIntelligence. So perhaps my agents are not intelligent but merely smart. I suppose the decision comes down to whether SmartBomb?s with the PatternMatching? ability to track heat signatures or dive down a chimney counts as ArtificialIntelligence or not. It certainly isn't ArtificialSentience?, which would have to be very psychotic to accept as its reason for existence destroying itself. (see the movie Dark Star for more details. And by all means, see it.)

ClayShirky has laid [down the law] on the subject of SmartAgents in a web context. For various reasons, which I tend to agree with, he rejects the concept of find_me_good_airplane_tickets,agent for something along the lines of http://bestbookbuys.com/. A point that always made sense to me. The way to do it is have it search for plane trips to Tahiti and have it alert you when you find a price under your threshold. Of course, that kind of behavior violates the planning instinct. ("Where are you going today?" "Off for a week in the South Pacific." "But what about the project you were working on?" "Sorry. The agent said it had to be now. I hope this job'll be here when I get back.")

Now to goad him into writing the converse idea, "Why StupidAgents are a Smart Idea". --DaveJacoby



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