There are many qualities and attributes presented in the literature on "agents". This paper looks at some of the properties of agents that others have suggested, specifically independence (autonomy), intelligence, communication, learning, mobility and representation of the user. These attributes are described in a general sense and their relevance to the idea of agency is discussed, particularly the way that they interrelate. Two formalisms, that of Goodwin and that of Fulbright and Stephens, are discussed in detail as starting points. The conclusion reached is that "agency" is a continuum of many properties, but that some of those properties are essential if the term "agent" is to be useful or meaningful - in particular, the properties of independence and representation, though the difficulty of divorcing these properties from other, related properties is noted. By looking at some of the attributes that are commonly seen as defining agency, this paper seeks to create a modest framework for considering candidates for the title of "agent".


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Last modified 19 December 1995, 01:20
© Copyright 1995 Karl Auer