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2 chapter contains examples of intelligent agents, arranged according to their appli­ cation areas. Chapter 7 closes with a prospective view of the future development of intelligent agents. Everyone concerned with the Internet and the new possibilities of information and communication technology knows that nowadays there is no area that is devel­ oping faster. The authors are aware of the dynamics of this research area and its effects when they describe such a fast developing area in a slow, traditional me­ dium like a book. One thing is sure today: when the book appears on the market, new intelligent agents will already exist and some of the hypotheses made by this book will have been shown to be incorrect. Why, despite this, does it make sense to write a classical book on this subject? Is there an alternative? Experience shows that the majority of the people in business and public life who make decisions on the use of new technologies continue to prefer books and articles in periodicals rather than electronic sources such as the Internet. Or is there some other reason for the enormous success of Nicolas Negroponte's book Being Digital, which we thank for multimedia and many concepts of the digital and networked world, and even intelligent agents? Today, a book is still the only way to establish a new area.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Introduction

1. Introduction

Abstract
This book is concerned with intelligent software agents. As with James Bond, agent 007, who, in the service of Her Majesty, the Queen of Great Britain, solves difficult problems by himself and never loses sight of the task at hand, intelligent software agents help private and business users in their search for information and performance of tasks in a networked, digital world. The Internet today provides us with an introductory view of how this digital and networked world will look. Intelligent agents in future will develop into an important tool for private and business users. Many experts believe they provide a new category of software that will gain greatly in importance in the coming years.
Walter Brenner, Rüdiger Zarnekow, Hartmut Wittig

Fundamentals

Frontmatter

2. Agents as Tools of the Information Society

Abstract
Business and society find themselves in transition to an information society. The continuing digitization of content and the networking of business, administration, and private households form the basis of the information society. In the future, an ever increasing number of businesses and government bodies will be connected to electronic networks, over which they will obtain information in digital form and provide information for others (see Figure 2.1/1).
Walter Brenner, Rüdiger Zarnekow, Hartmut Wittig

3. Fundamental Concepts of Intelligent Software Agents

Abstract
It has not yet been possible to agree on a generally accepted, comprehensive, definition of an intelligent agent. This is evidence of the inter-disciplinary character of agents, which on the one hand are subject to the effects of different scientific research directions, and, on the other hand, reflect the requirements demanded in practical applications. If one approaches the area of agents primarily from the direction of the artificial intelligence, there are different criteria than those seen from the point of view of the information and communications systems. Similarly, the demands of a social scientist differ from those of the more technically oriented observations made by a computer scientist.
Walter Brenner, Rüdiger Zarnekow, Hartmut Wittig

4. Base Modules of Agent Systems

Abstract
Even during the definition of intelligent agents, it became apparent that the influences of various research directions are reflected in the development of an agent. Figure 4.4/1 emphasizes this fact by comparing the areas of influence with the characteristics assigned to an agent.
Walter Brenner, Rüdiger Zarnekow, Hartmut Wittig

5. Development Methods and Tools

Abstract
The design and development of complex application systems requires the use of phase-oriented design methods and the use of development tools. This does not only apply for traditional software systems, but also for agent-based architectures, because they also represent complex application systems. This chapter discusses central development methods and tools with specific regard to agent-oriented systems. The aims are to investigate currently existing methods and tools with regard to their suitability for the development of agent systems, and to identify the specific requirements of agent-oriented systems. Figure 5.1/1 provides an overview of the central tool categories for the application development and shows the associated development cycle phases.
Walter Brenner, Rüdiger Zarnekow, Hartmut Wittig

Applications

Frontmatter

6. Application Areas for Intelligent Software Agents

Abstract
This chapter focuses on the description of selected examples. The representation of selected application areas of intelligent agents shown here deliberately does not follow the viewpoint of a computer scientist or developer of intelligent agents. In contrast to Part I, this chapter aims to use illustrative examples to provide interested readers with an introduction to the complex area of intelligent agents and so permit them to recognize the future potentials of this technology.
Walter Brenner, Rüdiger Zarnekow, Hartmut Wittig

7. The Future

Abstract
Intelligent software agents have the potential to become one of the central components for the future information society. Although the developers of intelligent agents have primarily concentrated on the technologies and concepts, a change can be seen with the concentration on the commercial usage scenarios and service models. The technological basis for the commercial use of agent-based systems has been prepared. However, the final success of intelligent agents will largely depend on the acceptance of the new technologies by the end-user. Two complementary problem areas should be mentioned in this connection. A wide acceptance of intelligent agents is possible only when the social, ethical and legal reservations associated with the use of intelligent agent have become accepted, and also a wide range of agent-based services are available that provide direct benefits for the end-user.
Walter Brenner, Rüdiger Zarnekow, Hartmut Wittig

Backmatter

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