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This report investigates the topic of intelligent agent technology in the E-commerce context. The aim is to understand what an intelligent software can do and how it is productively employed in the specific music/DVD online store sector

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Introduction

Intelligent agent technology Introduction This report investigates the topic of intelligent agent technology in the E-commerce context. The aim is to understand what an intelligent software can do and how it is productively employed in the specific music/DVD online store sector, that was analysed in part 1 of this assignment . Background Intelligent agent technology started more than 50 years ago with prototypes such as the machine called Memex by V Bush and the Advice taker by J McCarthy (Turban, 2004) that were developed to help end users to navigate information and delegate repetitive tasks. Much of the current research, which started in the 80s has been integrating according to Wooldridge (2002), the study of intelligent agent software with disciplines such as artificial intelligence, game theory1 and social sciences, in particular the branch that investigate human-computer interaction. Definition The definition of intelligent agent technology is very complicated and there are as many to fill this entire report with it. Peter Fingar (2004), define a software agent as a software package that carries out tasks for others, autonomously without direct intervention by its master once the tasks have been delegated. Intelligent agents are software that can be used to assist human users, business processes or application or even other software agents. ...read more.

Middle

The main value offered by this technology is the possibility to locate and navigate the information overload created by tools such as data mining and log files, and also by analysing the data, extract meaningful trends and patterns that can be acted upon by the human end user. The process obviously saves time and the data extracted are of an infinite superior quality to any results that could be achieved by a human being in the same amount of time. "The competent user's decision is enhanced with information rather than paralysed by too much input"(Turban, p.2) The following are some of the possible applications of intelligent software: * Personal assistant, in routine personal tasks such as grocery shopping or holiday booking. It is expected that intelligent agents for instance will be able to place an order for food shopping by collecting information from the favourite shopping list, from the fridge, in what is defined pervasive computing, the bank account and the diary to plan for the delivery of the goods. * Search, retrieval and cost comparison, by searching in millions of databases and delivering the answer back to the end user when the task is completed. True intelligent agents will be able to prioritise what are the qualities and standards expected by the end user. Sometimes the cheapest product in not the best possible choice. ...read more.

Conclusion

Music websites offer recommendations to their customers based on profiles built by intelligent agents on the basis of demographic, geographic and psychographics data collected without the users' knowledge. Recommendations are then generated by comparing profiles of customers with similar characteristics. Another point that creates concerns is that agents can track movements on the network and in certain instances predict where the user is likely to go. Is this information supposed to be stored and whose information is it? The debate on the ethics behind intelligent agent technology might go on for years. At present organisations are aware of the concerns and are thinking of possible solutions to the problem. Various standard have been proposed including giving the individual control on accepting the key principle of the technology. Conclusions Intelligent agent technology plays an important part in the success of E-Commerce, by allowing organisation to concentrate on the individual customer, leaving more time consuming chores to the software agents. The results are improved customer service, reduced costs and better profits. End users are expects a certain level of service and automation when browsing in the network and are becoming familiar and acceptive of the technology amidst concerns about personal privacy. Successful organisations as Amazon and the expectations of consumers are pushing the industry to adapt and develop the technology, which is the only alternative to maintain a degree of competitiveness in today's demanding market. ...read more.

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