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Power system operators often reach a cognitive barrier when information arrives too fast during a power system emergency. At such times it becomes difficult to reach a correct diagnosis of the problem or to formulate the correct decision when actions must be taken. Artificial Intelligence gives designers of Energy Management Systems a way to solve many of the diagnosis and decision problems so as to make the EMS more useful. This paper explores reasons why AI techniques, such as knowledge-based expert systems, are being used in EMS designs and the differences between knowledge-based expert systems and traditional numeric algorithm development. The differences between expert systems and the numeric approach extend to the basic conception and design of the applications. This is illustrated using a relay fault diagnosis system, showing both the traditional and rapid prototyping approaches to its development. Finally, issues concerned with the implementation of AI in EMS computers are explored along with the authors' predictions of possible AI applications to power system operations.