I'm in San Jose at the Semantic Technology Conference. Jim Hendler and Ora Lassila's keynote address this morning: reviewing five years of progress on the semantic web. Not much to disagree with. One of Ora's closing slides mentioned lack of progress in agents (see picture). It's a little hard to read, but the last line is "little progress on agents". The commentary from Jim and Ora was fairly muted about agents, even though they claimed (particularly Ora) that having agents act on the user's behalf was one of their key motivations originally. My view: a lot of the rhetoric about where we really want to go with the semantic web depends on a representation of intention, and agents are exactly the expression of intention in computational form.