To be able to make predictions about the next step(s) in the development of agents and the agent technique, several factors have to be considered. In this chapter the past and present of agents is given a closer look. There are several parties and factors that are related to these, and they will be looked at in the next sections.
The first factor, which will be looked at rather briefly in section 5.2, is about links between developments in the area of computers (in general) and agent technology.
Secondly, we will have a closer look at the human factor in agent developments: agent users (section 5.3) , the suppliers & developers of agents (section 5.4), and the government (section 5.5). In these sections it will be clarified why there is not such a thing as the user or the supplier, and what benefits governments can get from the agent technology.
Lastly (in section 5.6), past and current developments on and around the Internet will be subject to a more detailed scrutiny.
Each section will start with the state of affairs and general remarks with regard to that its subject and will then move on to indicate the links between this factor or party and the agent-technique.

Most of the information in this chapter, is of a rather general nature, and could just as well have been put in the next chapter. However, this would have resulted in one, huge chapter, which does not make it all very comprehensible or readable. Instead of that, it has been chosen to structure it the way it is now: divided over two chapters, where chapter five built a basis for, and raises questions about, issues that are discussed in chapter six. [1]

[1] So "Agent Trends & Developments - General remarks" may have been a good name for this chapter as well.

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