, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 227-247

Software Agents and Their Bodies

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Abstract

Within artificial intelligence and the philosophy of mind,there is considerable disagreement over the relationship between anagent's body and its capacity for intelligent behavior. Some treatthe body as peripheral and tangential to intelligence; others arguethat embodiment and intelligence are inextricably linked. Softwareagents–-computer programs that interact with software environmentssuch as the Internet–-provide an ideal context in which to studythis tension. I develop a computational framework for analyzingembodiment. The framework generalizes the notion of a body beyondmerely having a physical presence. My analysis sheds light oncertain claims made about the relevance of the body to intelligence,as well as on embodiment in software worlds.