Many people usually do not understand the differences between Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and even confuse these two as same. To make matters worse, many organisations are now using terms like Intelligence Process Automation (IPA) for promoting their brands. These jargons can be confusing for industry outsiders. We will highlight the key differences between RPA and AI, specifically in the context of ‘Process Automation’.
To put it very simply, RPA is a software robot that mimics human actions, whereas AI is related to simulation of human intelligence by machines. On a more fundamental level, RPA is associated with “doing” tasks while AI and ML are associated with “thinking” and “learning”. It is more like – Brawn vs Brains.
Every activity in RPA should be explicitly programmed or scripted. It is practically impossible to teach a Bot (software robot) every process activity while an AI can intelligently decipher information similar to a human mind. Thus, human intervention is required in most of the RPA processes.
RPA is about automating repetitive, rule-based processes where multiple but disparate systems interact with each other. On the other hand, AI is all about high quality output having performance similar to a human. Using an AI with RPA, most of the processes can be performed end-to-end with minimal human intervention.
It all boils down to the constraints such as cost, speed of implementation, time-to-market, complexities and others that guide the selection of RPA or AI or a combination for any organisation. At the end, both RPA and AI are valuable tools for any organisation helping in quicker digital transformation.