Couple tidbits from Constructing Intelligent Agents Using Java: Professional Developer’s Guide.
Page 3, an Alan Turing quote: “.. if a machine is expected to be infallible, it cannot also be intelligent.”
On the classifications of agents (agency, intelligence, mobility): “…Agency deals with the degree of autonomy the software agent has in representing the user to other agents, applications and computer systems…. Intelligence refers to the ability of the agent to capture and apply domain specific knowledge and processing to solve problems…. An agent is mobile if it can move between systems in a network.” [page 10]
On processing strategies: “… reactive or reflex agents, which respond in the event-condition-action mode. Reflex agents do not have internal models of the world. They respond solely to external stimuli and the information available from their sensing of the environment…. Deliberative or goal directed agents have domain knowledge and the planning capability necessary to take a sequence of actions in the hope of reaching or achieving a specific goal…. Collaborative agents work together to solve problems. Communication between agents is an important element, and while each individual agent is autonomous, it is the synergy resulting from their cooperation that makes collaborative agents interesting and useful.” [page 10]
“…intelligent agent software is practical software. It just gets the job done. If intelligent agent software introduces another level of complexity that the user has to deal with, then it will be a failure. Intelligent agents must be enabling and automating, not frustrating or intrusive.” [page 13]