Knowledge-based systems have wide applicability; we saw many examples in Japan with a high return on investment. In addition, many of the applications provide nonquantifiable improvements in individual decision making, timeliness and product quality. They can be categorized as follows (see Appendix E, Site Reports, for a description of the applications cited):

  1. Complex logic
  2. Solving an ill-formed problem (reasoning with uncertainty)
  3. Situations in which rules change frequently
  4. Need for use of heuristic knowledge
  5. Human-like Results
  6. Planning

Although Japanese computer manufacturers (JCMs) are the major developers of applications and tools (see below), other companies are also vigorously applying KBS technology throughout their business -- notably, the steelmaking and electric power companies. Of the 295 respondents to the 1992 Nikkei AI survey, 128 have KBSs that are currently in operational use or in development.

Published: May 1993; WTEC Hyper-Librarian