The operation of a human organization requires dozens of everyday tasks to ensure coherence in organizational activities,
to monitor the status of such activities, to gather information
relevant to the organization, to keep everyone in the organization informed, etc. Teams of software agents can aid humans
in accomplishing these tasks, facilitating the organization’s
coherent functioning and rapid response to crises, while reducing the burden on humans. Based on this vision, this paper
reports on Electric Elves, a system that has been operational,
24/7, at our research institute since June 1, 2000.
Tied to individual user workstations, fax machines, voice,
mobile devices such as cell phones and palm pilots, Electric
Elves has assisted us in routine tasks, such as rescheduling
meetings, selecting presenters for research meetings, tracking people’s locations, organizing lunch meetings, etc. We
discuss the underlying AI technologies that led to the success
of Electric Elves, including technologies devoted to agenthuman interactions, agent coordination, accessing multiple
heterogeneous information sources, dynamic assignment of
organizational tasks, and deriving information about organization members. We also report the results of deploying Electric Elves in our own research organization.