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Expert systems: aspects of and limitations to the codifiability of knowledge

  • Cowan, Robin

This paper discusses recent attempts to codify knowledge through the development of expert systems in several different contexts. This paper argues that in the context of expert systems there is some knowledge that can be codified (turned into an expert system essentially in its entirety), some for which this is partly possible, and some for which it is basically impossible given the state of today''s technology. We look specifically at the expertise of three different types of workers: the artisan, the repairer and the strategist, and differences in natures of their expertise, and ask what it is about these different tasks that makes human expertise easy, hard or impossible to capture in codified form. The studies also show though that different types of knowledge lend themselves with different degrees of compliance to the codification process.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V77-44N9P3G-2/2/c5585cf3f787a0f658a2e28ab8fb726a
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

Volume (Year): 30 (2001)
Issue (Month): 9 (December)
Pages: 1355-1372

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Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:30:y:2001:i:9:p:1355-1372
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

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  1. Bengt-ake Lundvall & Bjorn Johnson, 1994. "The Learning Economy," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 23-42.
  2. Cowan, Robin & Foray, Dominique, 1997. "The Economics of Codification and the Diffusion of Knowledge," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 595-622, September.
  3. Cowan Robin & David Paul & Foray Dominique, 1999. "The Explicit Economics of Knowledge Codification and Tacitness," Research Memorandum 025, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
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