What is 'Knowledge Engineering'

Knowledge engineering is a field of artificial intelligence (AI) that creates rules to apply to data in order to imitate the thought process of a human expert. It looks at the structure of a task or a decision to identify how a conclusion is reached. A library of problem-solving methods and the collateral knowledge used for each can then be created and served up as problems to be diagnosed by the system. The resulting software could then assist in diagnosis, trouble-shooting and solving issues either on its own or in a support role to a human agent.  

BREAKING DOWN 'Knowledge Engineering'

Knowledge engineering sought to transfer the expertise of problem-solving human experts into a program that could take in the same data and come to the same conclusion. This approach is referred to as the transfer process and it dominated early knowledge engineering attempts. It fell out of favor, however, as scientists and programmers realized that the knowledge being used by humans in decision making is not always explicit. While many decisions can be traced back to previous experience on what worked, humans draw on parallel pools of knowledge that don’t always appear logically connected to the task at hand. Some of what CEOs and star investors refer to as gut feeling or intuitive leaps is better described as analogous reasoning and nonlinear thinking. These modes of thought don’t lend themselves to direct, step-by-step decision trees and may require pulling in sources of data that appear to cost more to bring in and process than it is worth. 

The transfer process has been left behind in favor of a modeling process. Instead of attempting to follow the step-by-step process of a decision, knowledge engineering is focused on creating a system that will hit upon the same results as the expert without following the same path or tapping the same information sources. This eliminates some of the issues of tracking down the knowledge being used for nonlinear thinking, as the people doing it are often not aware of the information they are pulling on. As long as the conclusions are comparable, the model works. Once a model is consistently coming close to the human expert, it can then be refined. Bad conclusions can be traced back and debugged, and processes that are creating equivalent or improved conclusions can be encouraged. 

Knowledge Engineering to Exceed Human Experts

Knowledge engineering is already integrated in decision support software. Specialized knowledge engineers are employed in diverse fields that are advancing human-like functions including the ability of machines to recognize a face or parse what a person says for meaning. As the complexity of the model grows, the knowledge engineers may not fully understand how conclusions are being reached. Eventually the field of knowledge engineering will go from creating systems that solve problems as well as a human to one that does it quantitatively better than humans. Coupling these knowledge engineering models with other abilities like natural language processing (NLP) and facial recognition, artificial intelligence could be the best server, financial adviser or travel agent that the world has ever seen. 

RELATED TERMS
  1. Financial Engineering

    Financial engineering is the use of mathematical techniques to ...
  2. Artificial Intelligence - AI

    Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to simulated intelligence ...
  3. Strong AI

    Strong AI is a type of machine intelligence that is equivalent ...
  4. Expert Network

    A group of professionals who are paid by outsiders for their ...
  5. Price Transparency

    Price transparency typically refers to the accessibility of information ...
  6. New Growth Theory

    New growth theory is a concept that presumes the desire and wants ...
Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    The Highest-Paying Engineering Careers

    Learn more about some of the highest-paying jobs in field of engineering. With just a bachelor's degree, most engineers in these jobs make well over $100,000.
  2. Tech

    Hedge Funds Turn Toward Artificial Intelligence

    Beyond simply automating elements of the investing process, hedge funds are increasingly focused on incorporating AI into their strategies.
  3. Personal Finance

    The Seven-Figure Asset You’re Probably Ignoring

    What is human capital and how should it factor into your investment decisions?
  4. Tech

    How Big Data and Artificial Intelligence Affect Investing

    Due to the increasing use of big data and artificial intelligence, investors are able to make more informed investment choices and grow their money.
  5. Investing

    4 Degrees Most Oil Companies Are Looking For

    Find out which four degrees oil companies want to see on the resumes of new hires, and find out why the industry still pursues these graduates.
  6. Investing

    Can You "Learn" The Stock Market?

    When it comes to learning the stock market, all of the knowledge in the world won't ensure the perfect trade every time, but can you improve your odds?
  7. Investing

    Your Human Capital Might Be Your Greatest Asset

    When allocating your assets, don't forget one of your most valuable assets - human capital.
  8. Small Business

    The Value Of A "Useless" Degree

    Think a humanities degree will leave you penniless? Think again.
  9. Investing

    Zuckerberg and Musk Clash Over the Future of AI

    Zuckerberg is against doomsday scenarios, while Musk wants more regulation of the technology.
  10. Investing

    Amazon, FB, Microsoft, Alphabet Form AI Non-Profit

    The giants of tech announced a non-profit partnership to collaborate on research and promote public understanding of artificial intelligence technology.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the relationship between human capital and economic growth?

    Learn what human capital and economic growth are, how human capital is related to economic growth and see examples of the ... Read Answer >>
  2. How do managers measure human capital?

    Learn what human capital is, how managers measure it and how managers measure human capital's return on investment to gauge ... Read Answer >>
  3. How do firms improve their employees' human capital?

    Learn what human capital is, how a firm can benefit from improving human capital and some ways a firm can improve its employees' ... Read Answer >>
  4. Human capital vs. physical capital: What is the difference?

    Learn the difference between physical capital and human capital. How to find the value of each type of capital in a company's ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Leverage

    Leverage results from using borrowed capital as a source of funding when investing to expand the firm's asset base and generate ...
  2. Financial Risk

    Financial risk is the possibility that shareholders will lose money when investing in a company if its cash flow fails to ...
  3. Enterprise Value (EV)

    Enterprise Value (EV) is a measure of a company's total value, often used as a more comprehensive alternative to equity market ...
  4. Relative Strength Index - RSI

    Relative Strength Indicator (RSI) is a technical momentum indicator that compares the magnitude of recent gains to recent ...
  5. Dividend

    A dividend is a distribution of a portion of a company's earnings, decided by the board of directors, to a class of its shareholders.
  6. Inventory Turnover

    Inventory turnover is a ratio showing how many times a company has sold and replaces inventory over a period.
Trading Center