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Expert Systems ROI

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Back to the Future

Many expert systems built in the 1980s and early 1990s were ahead of their time:

Page metaphor: Deployed before the World Wide Web was invented, these early expert systems used a "page-based" user-interface similar to today's "web page" browser user-interface: When the user pressed Enter, the rule engine would intelligently and dynamically generate the next page to be displayed. Users could go "back" to the previous page and change their answers, or they could go forward to the "next" page.

Hypertext: Users could click on a highlighted keyword and "jump" to a related page.

Script languages: Dynamic pages and reports were built using scripting languages similar to HTML and XML.

Object-Oriented: Many of these early expert systems were built using some of the earliest object-oriented programming languages.

Mouse: Expert systems were one of the first applications designed to use a mouse pointing device.

A Solution Looking for a Problem

In the 1980s and early 1990s, analysts said that expert systems were a solution looking for a problem. Today, in the 2000s, the problem is clear: Information overload. Expert systems are the inevitable solution to that problem, as Dustin Huntington, President of EXSYS Inc., explains in his article.


DuPont claims over $1 billion in savings from their expert systems, and adds that for every $10,000 invested in expert systems, they obtained over $1 million in benefits.

Source: Exsys, Inc. website