[Modeling] agents vs actors

James Odell email@jamesodell.com
Mon, 22 Sep 2003 12:08:17 -0400


So, let's see if I understand.  As I understand your definition:

An actor is an interactive resource that has some degree of autonomy;

An agent is an artificial actor.

Is that correct?

If so, the definition of actor works for me.
However, I have major problems with the definition of agent.  For example,
you assert that because my real estate agent was a person, then my real
estate agent is not really an agent, after all.  This is counter-intuitive
for me.  Furthermore, my real estate agent is certainly a computational
artifact.  People are computational entities; societies and organizational
are computational.  So at the risk of being too trivial: life is a
computation.  So, based on this, I still see no difference between an actor
and an agent.  I can see talking about software agents, hardware agents, and
carbon-based agent.  But, these are all agents -- IMO, of course.


On 9/22/03 10:43 AM, Marian Nodine scribed:

> An agent is a kind of actor. An actor is a kind of resource.
> Let's start with the resource concept. Consider some activity that is a part
> of
> some application. A resource is an external entity to the activity that is or
> may
> be used by that activity. The relationship between the activity and the
> resource
> can be passive (e.g., the activity accesses the resource via a purely
> syntactic
> interface.). This is a strict utilization setting. However, there may be other
> resources that interact with the activity using a more semantic interface. For
> example, the resource may have initiated the activity, and be working in an
> ongoing
> manner to control or guide the activity. In this case, the resource is an
> *actor*.
> Note that this is kind of similar to the distinction between objects (map to
> resources) and agents (map to actors).
> A given actor may be a computational artifact (agent) or a human (individual).
> Does this help?