Future Military Applications for Knowledge Engineering

by Steven C. Bankes

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This Note surveys the technology of knowledge based systems, or knowledge engineering, to identify potential military applications. The number of potential applications is quite large, and includes decision support systems, knowledge-based simulations, training aids, maintenance advisors, robotic applications. Because the technology is new and untested, there are a number of risk factors: it is unclear how costs will increase with the size of any given project; debugging and verification may be more difficult than in traditional software engineering; support resources (hardware, software, and skilled personnel) will have to be developed before this technology can be widely applied. To facilitate the parallel development of fundamental research and practical development, the author recommends selecting key applications for actual system development and, to avoid costly failures, suggests that an evolutionary strategy be employed. Knowledge-based systems should be designed to augment human capabilities, not replace personnel.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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