Agents of Change (The Bulletin magazine)

by David Braue (The Bulletin)

September 10 2003

Agents simulating human behaviour are being applied to commercial uses, writes David Braue.

Work developing agents has been done mostly by research institutions and universities but Melbourne company Agent Oriented Software has moved the technology into the commercial sphere using JACK, which automatically generate agents that behave according to specified parameters.

Formed in 1997, AOS has successfully built up a $2.5m annual revenue stream through partnerships with a variety of defence-related organisations, which use agents to simulate humans and human behaviour in a range of adverse conditions.

Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation uses JACK-based agents to simulate pilot behaviour in flying tests, while AOS recently won a deal with Britain's Ministry of Defence to create agent-based "soldiers" that can be tested virtually to see how they respond to fear, fatigue and other battlefield issues.

"We're modelling behaviour in simulations that get intelligent agents to behave in a more human way," says AOS business applications manager Nick Howden. "We're looking to build a cognitive level on top of the JACK agent, so we can look at perception, memory and so on, to see how they are affected by behaviour modifiers."

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