The way some people talk, you'd be forgiven for believing that AI and automation are essentially the same thing. After all, we're just talking about robot technology that helps us save time, so we can do more, right? Well, not exactly...
Over on Medium, we've taken a deeper look at what separates two very different systems, designed to achieve very different goals. It's a topic worth studying when you consider that, according to tech company Arm:
'A quarter of Siri users didn't know that AI powered the personal assistant, and awareness of AI-style tech driving other popular apps (e.g. Facebook and Netflix) is even lower. This tells us that the public's grasp of what AI can deliver is still building.'
In headline terms, artificial intelligence can assess and learn from the data is scrapes. Automation, on the other hand, is developed to accurately follow pre-programmed commands.
As a real-world example, our course booking software is designed to automate core tasks. That means, instead of spending valuable time undertaking manual processes or relentlessly switching between stacked systems, you create a set of triggers and actions, and our platform will perform those tasks automatically.
For instance, rather than collating insightful business reports by hand, you tell the system to run a specific report (let's say, course profitability) at the end of each month. The system complies that order and emails that report on the set date.
That gives machine-learning AI - complex technology that's still in relative infancy - incredible potential in the future, but also a lack of focus. Artificial intelligence is a jack-of-all-trades. Automation is a master of one: Whatever you tell it to do.