Client-side highlighting; tag proposal
Fri, 10 Mar 95 03:39:35 PST

Hmmm ... for some reason I didn't get David Morris' note, although I seem
to have received the rest of this discussion. But Steven Majewski quoted
something that I'd like to respond to.

David Morris wrote:
> I for one will not tolerate generic code being loaded in my machine
> from anywhere based on clicking of links. The security implications
> are mind-boggling. Popup warnings are not sufficient for those unprepared
> to evaluate the implications.

Just before the January USENIX, a colleague said much the same thing to me.
Then I went to USENIX, and was surprised at how many people were talking
seriously about agents in one form or another (no less than seven of the
speakers and presenters dealt with agents). I mentioned this difference of
perspective to my boss later, and he noted that just 10 years ago, a great
many people were saying confidently that it was sheerest folly to ever connect
to a network, and that they would never do it. Today, in spite of the
security implications, many of those same people would not think of doing
business without a network connection of some sort. The perceived benefits
outweigh the risks.

He, and I, suspect that the same shift in perception will occur with regard
to agents. There are still huge open questions, and Steven makes a good case
that we perhaps need to shift our focus in deciding how to build agents. But
I have come to believe that agents will become important, and a lot of people
who currently take David Morris' view will find their attitude changing.