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12.4A Artificial intelligence, Expert system

12.4A Artificial intelligence, Expert system

Artificial intelligence


Artificial Intelligence: A branch of computing that studies the use of computer to perform computational processes normally associated with the human intellect.


Expert systems

  • A computer that thinks and behaves like a human expert in a certain field
  • These are systems that can be used to mimic a human expert
  • They use artificial intelligence to make decisions based on answers to questions



Knowledge base – set of knowledge about a about particular field/subject
Inference engine – a set of rules on which the decisions made by the system are based - these rules are applied to the knowledge base
User interface – the way the expert system/IKBS communicates with the user - it presents the user with questions and allows them to type in the answers

Advantages and disadvantages of expert systems


  1. Fewer mistakes – they do not forget things
  2. Less time to train – human experts take a long time to train
  3. More expertise than a single expert – systems based on expertise of many experts
  4. Always asks the questions that a human expert may forget to ask


  1. Systems lack common sense – they cannot spot a situation that is ridiculous
  2. Systems lack senses – for example, a patient may need to be observed
  3. The system relies on the rules being correct – the person creating the expert system may have made mistakes

Applications of expert systems

  • Doctors – for medical diagnosis
  • Architects – to help with the design of buildings
  • Geologists – to help them find the best place to look for minerals or oil
  • Accountants – for giving tax advice to individuals/companies

Medical diagnosis

  • Enables a doctor to make an accurate diagnosis
  • Gives a doctor the the knowledge and decision-making ability of a consultant in the field
  • Enables a patient to be put on the correct treatment without delay

Designing buildings

  • Gives builders/architects expert information on the best way to construct buildings
  • For example, builders can specify a certain number of rooms and the system will put them together in the best way

Prospecting for minerals/oil

  • Can take geological information from maps to create the knowledge base
  • Use knowledge base and apply the rules in the inference engine to it
  • The user can enter locations using the user interface
  • The expert system will suggest the most likely places where minerals/oil could be found

Giving tax advice to companies/individuals

  • Tax is complex
  • Companies and individuals want to legally minimize the tax they pay
  • Expert systems ask a series of question to arrive at an expert decision


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