It is currently impossible to extract one single governmental policy or vision with regard to the Internet from all the individual policies: there are as many visions of the information future as there are sectors of the economy helping to create them.
What can be more or less concluded is that at this moment, governments [1]  and politicians are not interested in agent technology per se. However, most of them state in their future plans for the Internet (or National Information Infrastructure (NII) [2]  in case of the United States) that both individuals (or civilians) as well as companies and institutions should be able to make maximum use of it: users of the Internet should have free access to a broad variety of information (such as information from the government) and be able to chose from an equally broad variety of services. Services and information which every company or institution should be enabled to offer freely (with as little restrictions as possible).
But what use is all this information when users (i.e. civilians) are not able to find it, or are not able to access the Internet at all? How do users find out if (and which) services are being offered, and - if they find them - will they be able to use them (properly)?

To all appearances it seems that, although governments and politicians do not say it in so many words, agent technology - preferably combined with the three layer model as seen in chapter four - is a powerful and versatile tool that could be used to achieve this aim. Many application areas (and applications) are sketched in the various policy plans, each of them presupposing there to be a powerful, "intelligent" technology that makes it all possible: agent technology may very well be what they are looking for (but it is - for the time-being - unknown to them).
For instance, in [IITA93] it is stated that the development of applications for the "National Information Infrastructure" will be predicated on two other developments. The first is "creating the underlying scaleable computing technologies for advanced communication services over diverse bitways, effective partitioning of applications across elements of the infrastructure, and other applications support services that can adapt to the capabilities of the available infrastructure". The second one is much more interesting with regard to agents (and more clearly linked to it), and is almost identical to the aims and (future) possibilities of agent technology and the three layer model:

"[...] creating and inserting an intelligent service layer that will significantly broaden the base of computer information providers, developers, and consumers while reducing the existing barriers to accessing, developing, and using advanced computer services and applications. In parallel with these activities, a more effective software development paradigm and technology base will be developed. This will be founded on the principles of composition rather than construction, solid architectures rather than ad hoc styles, and more direct user involvement in all stages of the software life cycle."


As we saw earlier, it is not low income that has kept, and is keeping, certain communities from using the "Information Superhighway", but a lack of (certain) education or skills. Agents could be used in an attempt to bridge this gap, and to prevent the government from only addressing the needs of a small part of the civilians of the information society:

"[...] Actualizers (highly educated persons who work in academic or technical fields) [...] are what all the excitement is about when "the consumer Internet" is invoked.
The problem is that the fast-growing consumer Internet that most observers anticipate will saturate the Actualizer population relatively quickly, leaving the question of who drives continued growth.
"
from [SRI95]

Moreover, the fact that the government in most countries is both one of the biggest suppliers as well as one of the biggest consumers of information stresses the need even more for governments to address this problem. Currently, they are usually doing this rather passively by financing projects of large companies, hoping that they will come up with the techniques and applications to handle the situation. In the future, it may be better if governments started to play a more active role, just like the active role they are pursuing with regard to (general) Internet developments.

[1] When, in this and the next chapter, something is being said about "the government" or "governments", the governments of the United States, various individual European countries and the European Union (as a whole) are meant. It were their policies that have been used for section 5.5 and 6.5.
[2] Throughout this thesis the National Information Infrastructure (NII) will be treated as being equal to the Internet, or rather: equal to the American part of the Internet. However, in policy plans of the United States, the NII is much more than the Internet alone. For simplicity's sake we will ignore that difference.

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