In computer science, a software agent is a computer program that acts for a user or other program in a relationship of agency, which derives from the Latin agere (to do): an agreement to act on one’s behalf. Such “action on behalf of” implies the authority to decide which, if any, action is appropriate. Agents are colloquially known as bots, from robot. They may be embodied, as when execution is paired with a robot body, or as software such as a chatbot executing on a phone (e.g. Siri) or other computing device. Software agents may be autonomous or work together with other agents or people. Software agents interacting with people (e.g. chatbots, human-robot interaction environments) may possess human-like qualities such as natural language understanding and speech, personality or embody humanoid form (see Asimo).
Related and derived concepts include intelligent agents (in particular exhibiting some aspects of artificial intelligence, such as reasoning), autonomous agents (capable of modifying the methods of achieving their objectives), distributed agents (being executed on physically distinct computers), multi-agent systems (distributed agents that work together to achieve an objective that could not be accomplished by a single agent acting alone), and mobile agents (agents that can relocate their execution onto different processors).