How expert systems work: thinking machines or not!

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O'Neill, Aoife
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Business Information Management
Dublin Business School
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The text discussed in the following chapters is an analysis of different theories purported by Artificial Intelligence 'gurus', and a thorough discussion of Expert Systems. The future of machine intelligence is something which AI researchers have spent a lot of time and money investigating. Yet we are still no closer to it actually happening. Not in the near future anyway. This dissertation provides an overview of the concept of thinking machines and analysing the possibility of this actually happening in the future. Expert systems are another important aspect of AI and I felt that they needed to be addressed in detail. This dissertation is divided into two main sections. The first section deals with two AI researchers theories. Marvin Minsky, a well-known AI researcher states that 'Machines will be able to think' this article proved to be useful in analysing the reasoning behind machines ability to think. John Bostrom, a more recent AI researcher, states that in the future 'it may be possible for machines to outsmart humans. As this is more current synopsis on the subject, I thought it was quite relevant. The second section contains an overview of Expert System architecture and components of expert systems. It also includes an important example of one of the first medical expert systems, MYCIN. My primary research consisted of distributing a questionnaire to 'non-experts' and analysing their opinions on the use of expert systems. It was discovered that to date there is not a lot of information available to people on the subject of expert systems. As a result of this, the feedback showed that in general, non-experts would not place much trust in the use of expert systems.