Mobile Agents [1] Realized

Mobile Agents Realized

My interest in mobile agents was sparked via my involvement in Macromedia Director and Lingo, the programming language that drives Director. Peter Small was thinking and writing about how  Lingo could be used to grab bits of information from the web and deliver it into graphically rich interfaces created in Director.

William Cockayne and Michael Zyda in their book Mobile Agents write about using Frontier and a BBS to create a colloborative system for project teams. Although this system was not truly an agent, it included the foundations for building what many of us use in Radio today: scripts and a general architecture (Frontier).

They go on to describe a futuristic version of this BBS. “It could be used to help children all over the world colloborate on projects by providing connections to other schools, helping the children and teachers understand the context of the other students, or even create friendships among children who will probably never talk to each other face-to-face.”

“Imagine this scenario:The agent of a small school in the United States finds out from an agent run by a university that a school outside Moscow is discussing similar issues related to pollution in their communities. The U.S. school’s agent (aggregator) contacts the Russian school’s agent and begins to coordinate information to show to the teachers of the respective schools.”

Sound familiar? I can’t remember if this book or Peter Small’s discussions of object oriented programming led me to Scripting News, but what fascinated me the most about Scripting News was watching Dave Winer work, think and create what is Radio today. In my mind the news aggregator is the most powerful piece of Radio. It is the agent that connects me to the thought processes of some of the brightest folks out there.