Cartoon Heroes. Critical Reflections on Software Agents

Hannemyr, Gisle (2000) "Cartoon Heroes. Critical Reflections on Software Agents". Proceedings of NIK'2000 Norsk Informatikkonferanse. Bodø November 2000

Since the early nineties, software agents have been subject to considerable interest. Advertised as a solution to several of the many problems that annoy modern computer users, they have attracted industry funding, research talent and considerable media interest. What they have not attracted is many users and real life applications. This essay first reviews some of the research literature dealing with agents, before moving on to a cursory examination of user experiences with real-life software agents. It finds real-life software agents much simpler than their counterparts in the literature. However, even at a comparably simple and transparent level, users have problems relating to the model of the computational process represented by a software agent.
Full length version:
Hannemyr, Gisle