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At a recent colloquium, a speaker referred to a "science fiction vision" that consisted of sets of agents running around the Web performing complex actions for their users. He argued that we were far from the day when this would be real and that the infrastructure was not in place to make this happen. While his latter assessment is accurate, the former is far too pessimistic. Furthermore, a crucial component of this infrastructure, a "standardized" Web ontology language, is starting to emerge. In this article, the author provides a few pointers to this emerging area and shows how the ontology languages of the Semantic Web can lead directly to more powerful agent-based approaches to using services offered on the Web-that is, to the realization of that speaker's "science fiction" vision.

M. A. Musen and D. Fensel, "Guest Editors' Introduction: A Brain for Humankind," in IEEE Intelligent Systems, vol. 16, no. , pp. 24-25, 2001.
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