"User knowledge, rather than product capability, is the principal determinant of agent-enabled application usage today.
[...] User need is the principal consideration in developing/executing business strategies for agent-enabled products.
from [JANC95]

Just like in the oncoming information society, the success and development of agents and the agent technique are driven by users really, instead of by producers or researchers. [1] So, when considering just exactly what an agent is, and which aspects of it are very important and which are less important, the ever important user factor should not be overlooked.
Users will not start to use agents because of their benevolence, proactivity or adaptivity, but because they like the way agents help and support them in doing all kinds of tasks; soon users will use all sorts of convenient (i.e. "intelligent) applications, without them realising they are using agents by doing so.

As was pointed out at the beginning of this chapter, there is one good reason why a fairly concise definition of an agent that can meet with general approval, should be drawn up as soon as possible: clarity towards the user. By all means it should be prevented that "agent" becomes a vague, meaningless and empty term, in the way a term such as "multi-media" has lost its meaning in the course of time. Agents will be perceived as nothing but the latest marketing hype:

"Just take your old program, and add an agent to the end of your product name. Voila! You have an Object Agent, Test Agent. [...]"
quote taken from [JANC95]

More about (professional) user's views on agents, will follow in chapter five and six.

[1] Users will not play that much of a very active steering-role, but user acceptance and adoption will be the ultimate test of agent's success.

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"Intelligent Software Agents on the Internet" - by Björn Hermans