BAT logo

Tour 98 - Feb
Richard Gatarski

IO logo

May/14 12.00 GMT+1
left  Stockholm
left Minneapolis
back in Stockholm

on-the-fly log from a conference attendant
diary: 8 · 9 · 10 · 11 · 12 · 13 · 14 · quiz (expired) · itinerary

PAQ - Please Ask me Questions, get answers,
like What is a PhD student in marketing doing at Agents´98?
Relevant links: The weather in Minneapolis
The Market Academy Study Tour ´98, I´m helping them with contacts
Artificial Market Actors, a presentation I did April 17th

Updates are: in order of appearance; starting from start; more spontaneous than reflected, edited and well designed.
Comments and questions most welcome to:, see also past tours: tour_feb98,  content feb97.


8th ams1.jpg (7878 bytes) I must tell you how happy I was to see this view today, i.e. the beautiful Netherlands.
When I tried to get a taxi to Arlanda, Taxi Kurir refused to send me one. They said that the road to Arlanda was completely cut off by a traffic accident. But my good friend and colleague Ola drove me, and I arrived Just In Time!

ams2.jpg (9200 bytes)

Getting closer to ground...
...and to Amsterdam.

On the plane I met Steve who was going to pick up a plane in
Pierre, South Dakota. His mission is to bring the plane to his current home in
Coté d´Ivoire.

steve.jpg (7612 bytes)
QUIZ toshiba.jpg (10058 bytes) Yes, this is actually a Toshiba laptop computer (although a few generations older than mine).
What is it used for? (clue, it can be found in the hotel reception desk, study the details in the picture).
Now, June 18 , the quiz has expired and no one gave the right answer.


9th Decided to rent a car and see some sights. Found one at Avis´s internet site, but didn´t book it since their office was just a block away. Bad mistake! Another guy before me snatched their last car, so I had to walk to another firm. Their office was  right across the conference hotel, so I registered and got my badge. areg.jpg (7185 bytes)
downtown.jpg (7849 bytes) A truly beautiful morning. Sunshine, over 20 centigrade and I was on the road towards Stillwater.
stillwater.jpg (20057 bytes) There I took a tourist Trolley and learned some things about the city´s story. It is one of the oldest communities in the state. This house was built by Alexander Johansson in the late 1800´s. He was from Sweden and had two sawmills right across the river. The story says that he monitored the workers from his house. On the St. Croix river paddlewheel riverboats were waiting for tonight's cruises.
scandia.jpg (20764 bytes) But I did´nt have time to wait for them, so I drove further up to Scandia. Here was the site of the first Swedish settlements in Minnesota. I walked on the cemetery and read the stones on the graveyards. The majority had Swedish names and inscriptions. An overwhelming feeling, that really reminded me about Småland.
After that I crossed the river at Osceola and drove down to Mall of America. Here we are talking BIG shopping, very far from e-Commerce and Agent technology. moa_sign.jpg (12049 bytes)
Instead the amusement park is filled with kids. The restaurants are plenty, and the shoppers are abundant.
I did what any serious marketing student must do. I shopped.
moa_park.jpg (14912 bytes)

Finally ended the day with a Coke (Classic) and Nachos (Doritos) in my bed.
X-files on TV and this log on my lap. Goodnight!


10th padget.jpg (9972 bytes) Today I attended the workshop on Agent-Mediated Electronic Trade, AMET ´98.
Here is Julian Padget showing us how a Spanish fish market looks like. Both IRL and IEC.
break.jpg (12136 bytes) The coffee breaks are sometimes equally fruitful as the presentations. This conference goes for coffee and Pepsi.
Had lunch with Sverker and Niklas from SICS. I do not know if there are more Swedes here.


Good night.



Agents 98 opened and the chair
Katia P. Sycara welcomed us all.

sycara.jpg (10442 bytes)
As you can see, we are quite a crowd. Here are some of the almost 500 people that were in the Nicollet Ball room this morning. audience.jpg (14357 bytes)
Next year the Agents ´99 conference will be held in Seattle. Here is Jeff Bradshaw who is going to be chair. bradshaw.jpg (7661 bytes)
Today's invited speaker was Les Gasser from the National Science Foundation. A very good talk. When I asked if he saw a future where NSF would allow agents to autonomously decide on which projects to fund, he said no. "NSF have obligations". So much for agents...they are good for others, but not us. gasser.jpg (8674 bytes)
thorisson.jpg (6881 bytes) Then I went to the sessions about Interface Issues, WWW agents and Electronic Commerce. Kris Thorisson ex  MIT Media Lab, now Lego, was one of the many who gave great presentations. He also showed a video on Gandalf built on the Ymir system. A gazing application that allows users interaction with gestures, natural language and more.
Those of you who followed last years log might remember the robots from Sony. This years breed are updated so the can have parts replaces. E.g. the legs can be replaced by wheels. Still lousy ball players, but very emotionally appealing. sony.jpg (12207 bytes)
And! as you can se on this Toshiba Libretto, the robot´s camera can be fed into a computer screen. So you can se what they can see. Cool! libretto.jpg (13250 bytes)


12th suchman.jpg (9204 bytes) This mornings invited speaker was Lucy Suchman from Xerox PARC. She delivered a really good talk about Human-Machine relations.
She ended by proposing the notions of design as the writing of dynamic artifacts and design as artful integration.
snk.jpg (15573 bytes)

Among the interested attendants was Sverker and Niklas from SICS, here sitting next to Katia.

Today the software demos started, and the demo room quickly became jammed with interested agent-fans.

demo.jpg (14346 bytes)
banquet.jpg (11528 bytes)

The technical sessions was followed by a banquet featuring and excellent dinner, nice people and...

etzioni.jpg (5784 bytes)

...a dinner talk by Oren Etzioni. He talked about shopping robots and the Jango Business Model

Here I am with Oren. We had a brief discussion about Jango´s different designs and shopbot implications for online vendors.

eandi.jpg (7726 bytes)


13th huberman.jpg (8434 bytes) This mornings invited speaker was Bernardo Huberman from Xerox PARC. He spoke about cars, trucks, portfolios and packet latency. Great stuff!
This afternoon offered as second round of demos. Here is Kurt discussing CiteSeer.. kurt.jpg (9671 bytes)
No demo without Irene, she set up all the hardware and wires. And she also helped me connect my Toshiba to the Net. Which meant I could do manage my bits both faster and cheaper than at the hotel. Which by the way could not offer any help at all after I checked out. irene.jpg (7051 bytes)
takama.jpg (7970 bytes) This is Mr Takama from Japan. He followed the conference as a part of his writing for the Japanese edition of Wired. His cameras captured everything till the bitter end...
trendpanel.jpg (10361 bytes) ...which followed the panel discussing future trends in Autonomous Agents.


14th Back in my room at Stockholm university.
Looking sometimes at my screen, sometimes through the window to the real world. Truly a beautiful day out there!
office.jpg (13160 bytes)
Thank you all for following my deeds. And remember:
Whoever you are, are you sure you are?


itinerary flights · hotels

Thank you Interjet for arranging my physical movement.


Date Flight From-To Dep. Arr. Duration
8 KLM 1110 ARN-AMS 12.45 14.55 2:10
8 KLM 6055 AMS-MSP 16.35 18.30 8:55
13 KLM 6056 MSP-AMS 21.00 12.15 8:15
13 KLM 1113 AMS-ARN 13.25 15.30 2:05


From To Hotel Telephone Fax
8 13 Best Western Downtown Minneapolis
Checked out!
(612) 370-1400 (612) 370 0351

PAQ - Please Ask Questions - the answers:

What is a PhD student in marketing doing at Agents´98? I am studying three things: 1/ Digital Content Management, 2/Agent Technology and 3/ Electronic Packaging. One phenomena emerging right now is a developing interaction between the marketing discipline and the agent discipline.
I am approaching this development from two directions:
  1. Artificial Actors in eCommerce
    We can already see that computerized artifacts have entered electronic commerce. What implications does that have for everyone that make business there? Humans as well as artifacts.
  2. Experiential Agents in eCommerce
    Agent technology papers for eCommerce concentrates on intelligence, learning, economics, optimization, etc. But physical commerce is full of experiential  aspects (check Mall of America). So, I intend to experiment with eCommerce agent applications that deploy emotional characteristics. Such as the ones found at believable/synthetic/life-like agents. Is it a good idea to balance the intellectual view with an emotional emphasis?

Correct answer to the Quiz

The old Toshiba is used to initialize the room keys, which are of credit-card type with a magnetic strip.