One new implementation of artificial intelligence that has the potential to affect far reaching consequences in the world is robotic process automation.
Using softwareprograms to perform tasks that have been, at least up till this point, performed exclusively by humans, RoboticProcess Automation aims to deliver impressive gains in efficiency while eliminating potential bottlenecks, thereby improving the overall speed and performance of the process and the venture as a whole. Robotic process automation, also called ‘cybershoring’, is also projected as a means of saving a tremendous amount of costs on personnel and the associated expenses that come with employing people.
Robotic process automation takes advantage of sophisticated computer programs called bots that are replicate human action. These bots can be used to perform both simple as well as complex tasks. Work that is particularly well suited to automation are those involving repeated well defined actions such as data entry, sorting operations, updating lists, arranging objects in order, logging data, etc. These tasks are simple enough to be performed by a software program with no human intervention. Such ‘dumb’ bots need simply take the requisite data and parse it though a simple system that tells it what to do with the data, that is, what operations need to be done, be it putting it in a certain position in a list, or just recording that data in a chart with such previous readings. However, complex actions that require decision making based on multiple criteria can also be undertaken by bots, albeit ‘smart’ ones. Smart bots can replicate human intelligence, in a very limited way, to tackle problems and scenarios by evaluating the present conditions and available data. Smart bots follow algorithms instead of rules, which allows it tailor its response to its input. Some of these programs are so sophisticated that they can leverage a technique called ‘machine learning’ by which they can actually recognise the patterns in inputs and correlate them with the outputs; this means that they can learn what inputs cause certain outputs and then modify their algorithms or their response to such data to better fit the ideal situation.
These bots are so versatile that researchers have made bots that have broken into the ‘creative’ arena as well. Computer programs can now compose music, write prose as well as edit written work. Multiple focus groups have led to the conclusion that humans cannot reliably distinguish between, say, the music composed by a software bot and that by an actual human being.
With Robotic Process Automation, we are on the verge of witnessing a new industrial revolution. These technologies have the potential to help business save significant costs while at the same time streamlining their workflow and increase their efficiency.