I just got email that the main mailing list for people who research software agents is moving from a very old mailing list technology (majordomo) to a moderately old (but very good) mailing list technology (mailman). That email, from Tim Finin, pointed out the mailing list had started in 1994 and complained about how spam was making moderating the mailing list hard. And I couldn't help think "14 years and we still don't have agents doing this work for us."
To be fair, most anything that is hard for a person is next to impossible for AI -- we have trillions of processors, even if they are quite slow (neurons). And intelligence is mostly about search, and concurrency really helps in search. But still, I remember what the software-agent community was promising in the mid-nineties, it's all kind of disappointing.
But, in the spirit of my talk last Monday night, maybe I should think that mailman, being a good, focussed piece of software which achieves what you used to need people to do, is AI, and therefore to some extent an agent...
By the way, Groningen was great, except for the weather. I could really imagine living there. I think I really do like the Netherlands a lot, once you get out of Amsterdam.