The primary issue is personal agency: the ability of an individual to act with full effect in the world.

A secondary issue—one among many—is getting help with that. “Intelligent agents” is a single example of one possible way to get help. Unfortunately, most of the familiar intelligent agent development is happening on the corporate side, and most of that work is toward selling us more crap.

I only brought up intelligent agents because Forrester did, in its report on the impending demise of adtech. Typically for analyst firms working for BigCos, they only imagined what BigCos could do, rather than what customers could do. And, since intelligent agents and branding are hot shit right now, they talked up “branded intelligent agents.”

If we have intelligent agents on our side, they need to be modeled on the ones we have in the everyday world, at least in so far as who employs them, and for what. Examples: lawyers, brokers, doctors and realtors (or at least the ones working for sellers).

We need to blow up what you call the proprietary context. As for how, there are many ways.

Written by

Author of The Intention Economy, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, Fellow of CITS at UCSB, alumnus Fellow of the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard.

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