KBEmacs: Where's the AI?

  • Richard C. Waters


The Knowledge-Based Editor in Emacs (KBEmacs) is the current demonstration system implemented as part of the Programmer's Apprentice project. KBEmacs is capable of acting as a semiexpert assistant to a person who is writing a program, taking over some parts of the programming task. The abilities of KBEmacs stem directly from a few key AI ideas. However, in many ways KBEmacs does not appear to be an AI system, because its abilities are limited and because (like many applied AI systems) the AI ideas are buried in a large volume of code that has little relevance to AI. The primary goal of this article is to present the AI ideas behind KBEmacs. In addition, the construction of applied AI systems is discussed, in general, using the development of KBEmacs as a case history