This Agent Doesn't Mind Doing Your Donkeywork

While the end of the cold war may put many secret agents out of a job, Edify Corp. is betting that the business world can find lots of work for its Information Agent. This system, an Intel 486-based IBM PC clone, can search for information in corporate computers, process it, and deliver it in just the right form--all without human intervention.

The setup relies on software that simulates what a human worker would do to find and package information--in the sales department, say, of a financial services company. Edify customers can instruct the system to do their bidding without having to understand computer programming. They simply create a logical sequence of graphical symbols that control such actions as dialing into a mainframe to retrieve data, running the data through a spreadsheet, and sending results to customers by fax or electronic mail. It can also answer a telephone with a recorded voice. Information Agent, which starts at $60,000, is being tested at several companies, including Borland International Inc., a leading PC software maker, and will be generally available in a few weeks.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.