August 12, 2022

How many Types of Agents are there in Artificial Intelligence?

Understand the process of how many types of agents are there in artificial intelligence & how each of them can help you solve problems for your next project.

When we think of Artificial Intelligence, we typically think of programs that can accomplish tasks on their own, such as recognizing objects in a photograph or translating text from one language to another. However, AI can also be used to help humans carry out tasks. These are known as "agents," and they are the building blocks of artificial intelligence. In this article, we'll explore the different types of agents and how they work.

What is an Agent?

An agent observes his surroundings and then takes positive action. Following the activity, the environment tells him how good that action was in the form of rewards; this also presents the agent with a new observation. An agent is a computing system that does its design work autonomously within a given environment. The concept of autonomy is difficult to define precisely, but it may simply refer to a system's ability to act and maintain itself without direct involvement from humans (or other agents). Agent autonomy and encapsulation in object-oriented systems may be related to the concept of autonomy. The methods provided by an object provide access to or modification of some state that the object encapsulates.

As with the state, agents encapsulate it as well. Additionally, agents encapsulate behavior in addition to the state. A method cannot be executed by an object because an object has no behavior. An object X, for example, cannot control whether or not a method m is executed on an object Y - it just is. Due to its lack of control over its own activities, Object Y is not autonomous. However, only agents are considered to have this level of control over the activities they perform.

Because of this contrast, we tend to think of agents as requesting actions to be performed rather than invoking methods (actions) on agents. The recipient must decide whether or not to act on the request.

To Explain What an Agent is, Let's take an Example:

Consider a pupil learning to maximize his grades in his training. He has exam grades from two weeks ago. He looks at the subjects in which he performed poorly. Then solely study (act) on such topics. He spends his free time playing video games or surfing. He retakes the exams after a week. His grades improved, and he is now only a little below average in one area. As a result, his grades improved as a result of his studying. Aside from that, he observes the subject on which he received bad marks, which becomes his next observation.

In this scenario, the reward is an increase in marks. However, keep in mind that the prize is insufficient to appraise his actions. What if he had failed the subjects he did not study on the second try? A reward merely indicates how well you are performing the task. It does not imply that this is the optimal course of action. In other words, the reward is an indicator, or a "weak signal," that signals whether the agent is acting appropriately.

In contrast to supervised learning, where each observation is classified as "correct" or "wrong," reward in reinforcement learning is simply a number reflecting how well you are doing the action. The robot must strive to determine which behaviors are superior to the others, if not the best. The goal here is to maximize the cumulative reward while the series of actions are carried out.

The Structure of an Agent

The architecture, agent function, and agent program are the three primary components of the intelligent agent structure.

Architecture + Agent Program = Agent


In architecture, actuators and sensors are incorporated into machinery or gadgets. The intelligent agent controls this apparatus. An example would be a computer, an automobile, or a camera.

Agent Function

Functions that map actions to specific perceptions are called agent functions. An intelligent agent records what it sees in a percept sequence.

Agent Program

The agent program implements or executes the agent function. On a physical architecture, the agent program creates the agent function.

What Exactly is an Intelligent Agent (IA)?

Artificial intelligence can be implemented through the use of intelligent agents (IA) that make decisions. The software entity can also be defined as one that performs actions on behalf of people or programs after sensing the environment. In such an environment, actuators are used to initiate action.

An agent that is sufficiently autonomous can carry out predictable, repeatable, and specific activities on behalf of users or applications. The ability to learn while performing its tasks also makes it referred to as' intelligent'. Intelligent agents are primarily capable of perception and action. Actions are triggered by actuators, not sensors. An intelligent agent is composed of sub-agents organized hierarchically. Lower-level tasks are handled by these sub-agents. An intelligent response or action is produced by working together between higher-level and lower-level agents.

Types of Agents

In 2003, Russell and Norvig classified AI agents into five (5) categories. These are classified according to their intelligence level or the complexity of the task they may be able to accomplish. Additionally, all of these agents are capable of improving and enhancing their performance to achieve higher levels of quality and performance.

Simple Reflex Agent

An intelligent agent based on simple reflexes acts on the present state of the environment, ignoring past events or perceptions. As their name implies, there is nothing complicated about Simple Reflex agents. Complex equations or problems cannot be calculated or solved by them. Furthermore, they only work when you can see your surroundings or if your current action is determined by what you are observing. Using the data presented here, condition-action rules are constructed, which are subsequently used to determine which action to take.

A simple reflex agent performs a single task, like playing a game or driving a vehicle. It’s an artificial agent that follows a reflex-based decision tree to reach a goal. The agent uses a simple programming language suitable for a very small number of problems. It’s particularly well-suited for a discrete and finite problem with a clear start and finish. The reflex agent is programmed by listing the sequence of conditions and actions that lead to a goal. It’s a black box that can be very useful for a small problem, like playing a game or controlling a robot. The reflex agent is the simplest AI agent — it’s a good option if you’re just getting started with artificial intelligence.

Model-based Reflex Agent

Model-based Reflex Agents provide a more detailed view of the world compared to Simple Reflex Agents. A model-based reflex agent keeps track of the partially observable environment based on its knowledge of "how the world works". As a result of its perceptual history, it has an internal state. This sort of AI agent is able to maintain a framework that depicts an unperceived reality through the world model it has programmed in its internal system. Consequently, it can adapt based on existing information when conditions are unexpected or when something is imperceptible.

A model-based reflex agent uses an internal model to solve problems. It takes in inputs and produces an output, just like a reflex agent. However, it stores the model in an internal database to assist in future decisions. A model-based reflex agent can perform many tasks using its database. You can adapt the database by providing feedback. You can update the database with new information or correct errors when the agent makes mistakes. A model-based reflex agent is a type of intelligent agent suitable for many situations. It can handle discrete, continuous or stochastic problems.

Goal-based Agents

An agent whose aims are more important than her perceived history is a goal-based agent. Based on the information Model-Based Agent stores, they can choose action sequences or perceptual sequences that will lead them to their goal by combining them with the environment model. The only distinction they make is between situations that are aimed at achieving a goal and those that are not. Moreover, it is capable of adapting more than reflex agents due to the explicit representation and modifiability of knowledge.

A goal-based agent uses a goal to select the best action. It calculates the likelihood of success for each possible action and chooses the one with the highest likelihood. A goal-based agent is a type of artificial intelligence that selects the best action based on its goal. A goal-based agent uses an algorithm to calculate the best action for any given situation. It’s similar to an expert system, but without the knowledge base. The algorithm is called a utility function. It assigns a utility, or a value, to each possible course of action. The utility function informs the agent’s decision-making process.

Utility-based Agents

An agent whose aims are more important than her perceived history is a goal-based agent. Based on the information Model-Based Agent stores, they can choose action sequences or percept sequences that will lead them to their goal by combining it with the environment model. It is merely a matter of distinguishing between situations that are goal-oriented and those that are not. A reflex agent is also less adaptable than one based on implicit knowledge since its knowledge is explicitly represented and modifiable.

A utility-based agent uses a utility function to select the best action. It calculates the value of each possible action and chooses the one with the highest value. A utility-based agent is a type of artificial intelligence that selects the best action based on its utility function. A utility function calculates the value of each possible action. It assigns a value to each possible course of action.

Learning Agents

A learning agent is an agent that has learning capabilities or is able to learn from its experiences. This agent is not governed by the same agent program as the others, since it begins with fundamental information, acts, and adapts based on that information. It accomplishes this by utilizing four mental concepts:

  • Learning Element: Aids in improvement.
  • External actions are chosen by the Performance Element.
  • Critic: Provides input to the learning element on how the agent is performing and how performance elements should be changed.
  • Problem Solver: Suggestions for acts that lead to novel and educational experiences.

A learning agent is an artificial intelligence agent that learns how to solve problems by observing the world. It doesn’t know the solution in advance. Instead, it collects data and learns from it. A learning agent uses algorithms to generalize from the data it collects. It then applies what it has learned to solve new problems. A learning agent is a type of artificial intelligence. It’s suitable for problems that can’t be solved with a specific algorithm. It’s particularly well-suited for problems that change over time and have no definitive solution. As a learning agent collects data and solves problems, it updates its model until it solves the problem correctly. Once it has a solution, it applies the same solution to other problems.

AI Representation of PEAS

In AI, an agent operates based on a model. Agents with similar characteristics are grouped together. While measuring performance, PEAS considers the environment, actuators, and sensors of the relevant agent. PEAS stands for Performance Measurement, Environment, Actuator, and Sensor.

Performance Measurement

An agent's performance is characterized by their perceptions, and their success is measured by a performance measure unit.


At any given time, the environment in which the agent exists. Activating the agent will cause the environment to change over time. There are five major types of environments:

  • Both fully and partially viewable
  • Sequential and Episodic
  • Dynamic and Static
  • Continuous & Discrete
  • Stochastic & Deterministic


It initiates actions and outputs them to the environment through its actuator.


An agent's sensors collect input from the environment.


Artificial intelligence is a broad field, with numerous subfields. An AI agent is a software agent that uses artificial intelligence to solve problems or achieve goals. Each AI agent uses one of many different techniques to reach its goal — there are many types of agents in artificial intelligence. Which one you choose depends on the problem you’re solving and your personal preferences as a programmer. To get started with AI agents, it can be helpful to understand the different types of agents in artificial intelligence and their pros and cons. Each type requires different programming techniques and has unique advantages. From there, you can select the type of agent that’s best for your project. That said, it’s important to watch out for when using AI agents in your projects. Be aware of the different limitations of agents and make sure you’re not over-engineering your project. With the help of the information in this article, you can select an agent that’s best for your project and avoid agent over-engineering.

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