Computers: How to Clone an Expert

Artificial intelligence systems are coming to market

It had all the high-tech razzle-dazzle of a consumer-electronics trade show. But most of the computer systems on display started at $50,000 and did a good deal more than play video games. At the booth of a company called Intellicorp, engineers from Ford Aerospace were showing off a program for troubleshooting balky satellites. At the Apollo Computer display, a firm called Visual Intelligence had a system to help nuclear-plant operators quickly interpret the kind of instrument readings that confused technicians at Three Mile Island. On a Digital Equipment computer, newspaper specialists from Composition Systems exhibited a program that lets editors accommodate...

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