A software or robotic entity that is capable of independent action in open, unpredictable environments. Often referred to as an intelligent agent, or simply agent, autonomous agents complete some kind of automatic process that can communicate with other agents or perform different kinds of directed tasks. Autonomous agents are currently being applied in areas as diverse as computer games, interactive cinema, information retrieval and filtering, user interface design, electronic commerce, auto piloting of vehicles and spacecraft, and industrial process control. Also called: intelligent agent. See also agent (definition 2).