"Intelligent agents (supposed to bid for you on eBay)? Mobile agents (supposed to migrate from one machine to the next)? Ontologies?"
I used to work on the Agent Development Kit when I was with Tryllian around 2000... Intelligent, mobile agents with shared ontologies! And a total turnover for the 100+ company until it went broke of 10k euros. Tryllian even bought its own 4-floor office building before the ex-xerox salesperson had ever sold a single license. Every year those licenses got more expensive, to cover the development investment. But I really learned a lot about coding at Tryllian.