The Rise and Potential of Large Language Model Based Agents: A Survey

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Zhiheng Xi, Wenxiang Chen, Xin Guo, Wei He, Yiwen Ding, Boyang Hong, Ming Zhang, Junzhe Wang, Senjie Jin, Enyu Zhou, Rui Zheng, Xiaoran Fan, Xiao Wang, Limao Xiong, Qin Liu, Yuhao Zhou, Weiran Wang, Changhao Jiang, Yicheng Zou, Xiangyang Liu, Zhangyue Yin, Shihan Dou, Rongxiang Weng, Wensen Cheng, Qi Zhang, Wenjuan Qin, Yongyan Zheng, Xipeng Qiu, Xuanjing Huan, Tao Gui


For a long time, humanity has pursued artificial intelligence (AI) equivalent to or surpassing the human level, with AI agents considered a promising vehicle for this pursuit. AI agents are artificial entities that sense their environment, make decisions, and take actions. Many efforts have been made to develop intelligent AI agents since the mid-20th century. However, these efforts have mainly focused on advancement in algorithms or training strategies to enhance specific capabilities or performance on particular tasks. Actually, what the community lacks is a sufficiently general and powerful model to serve as a starting point for designing AI agents that can adapt to diverse scenarios. Due to the versatile and remarkable capabilities they demonstrate, large language models (LLMs) are regarded as potential sparks for Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), offering hope for building general AI agents. Many research efforts have leveraged LLMs as the foundation to build AI agents and have achieved significant progress. We start by tracing the concept of agents from its philosophical origins to its development in AI, and explain why LLMs are suitable foundations for AI agents. Building upon this, we present a conceptual framework for LLM-based agents, comprising three main components: brain, perception, and action, and the framework can be tailored to suit different applications. Subsequently, we explore the extensive applications of LLM-based agents in three aspects: single-agent scenarios, multi-agent scenarios, and human-agent cooperation. Following this, we delve into agent societies, exploring the behavior and personality of LLM-based agents, the social phenomena that emerge when they form societies, and the insights they offer for human society. Finally, we discuss a range of key topics and open problems within the field.

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