Zoltán Baracskai - Jolán Velencei - Viktor Dörfler - Jaszmina Szendrey
The Tunnel of Doctus KBS: The Deeper You Get the Darker It Is
(Paper Presentation)

Conference: OFEL 2014
Theme: Inside and Outside of Managerial Mind
Presenter: Viktor Dörfler
Date: 4-5 April, 2014
Place: Dubrovnik, Croatia

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When you are on your way inwards to a tunnel, it is getting darker and darker. You reach the darkest point when you are in the deepest. Then, as you start your way out, there is gradually more and more light. Over the last quarter century we were getting deeper and deeper in. It seems that it is starting to get lighter now.

As academics and consultants we have been working for, with and on top-level business decision takers involved in loosely structured decision problems. Gradually we have achieved better and better understanding of the models of thinking that can be useful for these decision takers. First we realized that the model of thinking needs to be simple; which is the philosophical commonplace of Occam’s razor. Somewhat later we realized that it is easy to cut our-selves if Occam’s razor is too sharp – the model of thinking must not be too simple as it will fail to provide a usable representation of reality. This is also known from philosophy as Einstein’s extension of Occam’s rule: as simple as possible but not simpler than that. Along these lines we have developed the Doctus knowledge-based system shell, for building our models. This way we started building the bridge of trans-disciplinarity between the knowledge do-mains of various experts. However, this bridge is narrow and difficult to use for crossing the disciplinary divides. Decision takers cannot walk the bridge alone; they need a bridge-guide called the knowledge engineer. The knowledge engineer is not a polymath (expert in multiple domains); the knowledge engineer’s expertise is about knowledge and knowers.

More recently we have realized that it is not sufficient if the model is useful, it also has to be usable. The bridge should be wide, stable and easy to walk. Of course, it is still nice to have the knowledge engineer to guide the decision taker – it provides a fuller experience. What makes for such bridge? Today we think that we need to apply Occam’s razor tempered by Einstein on the user interface the same way as we have previously used it for representing knowledge. The new Doctus is beautiful and as simpler as it can be – but not simpler than that.