The Authorizer’s Assistant: A Knowledge-Based Credit Authorization System for American Express

James M. Dzierzanowski, Kenneth R. Chrisman, Gary J. MacKinnon, and Philip Klahr

In 1988 American Express fully deployed for U.S. Personal and Gold Card Products, the Authorizer’s Assistant (AA), a knowledge-based system to complement on-line credit authorizations. Historically, the AA has gone through two major phases, the AA Pilot and the AA Rollout. The goal of the AA Pilot was two fold: to prove that Artificial Intelligence has a place in American Express (not necessarily to prove any particular hardware or software product) and to develop the expertise associated with credit authorizations. Once the business case was proven based on the results of the AA Pilot, management invested the funds required to initiate the AA Rollout phase, the goal being to fully deploy the AA in an IBM production setting. A significant component of the AA Rollout was the system integration into the IBM mainframe environment.


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