Difference Between RPA and AI

There are many discussions these days about Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). These terms have become famous in recent years for providing unprecedented gains in productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.

But despite being very popular, these technologies still confuse some people as to what the difference between them is, what the best option for each business is, and whether they can be used together.

We will simplify each of the terms, objectives, differences, and what they have in common to stop this confusion.

Very simply, RPA is automation that performs tasks in the way it has been programmed to. In contrast, AI uses logic and understanding to do a task. Together, RPA and AI play an essential role in driving operational efficiency in companies’ processes.

Let’s go further into the definitions, differences, and how they can work together to transform business efficiency:

What is RPA?

Robotic Process Automation, also known as RPA, is a software technology that helps efficiently perform daily tasks independently without any human interference. Some of these tasks include performing calculations, maintaining daily records, answering queries, executing transactions, etc.

RPA works when programmed to perform a set of specific actions. This technology allows tasks previously done manually by humans to be done much faster, more efficiently, and without errors by computers.

Because it is a programmed technology, it works best when used based on rules that do not frequently change so that human intervention is kept to a minimum and RPA can bring benefits to the company. Some of the examples of RPA are:

  • Data migration/entry and forms processing
  • Process claims faster and with no errors
  • Ensure every employee is onboarded according to the established process
  • Extracting and processing structured content from documents
  • Scraping data from the web
  • Connecting to APIs systems

What is AI?

AI is under the umbrella term for technologies that facilitate the execution of exhausting tasks. Thus it is a set of technologies where machines are programmed to learn and adapt to a specific environment.

AI also imitates human actions like RPA, but unlike RPA, it can make decisions and predictions based on numerical criteria and laws established by humans.

AI is a supplementary complement to RPA robots, so they work hand in hand to extend automation to all kinds of new fields, enabling companies to automate more and more complex tasks.

Some examples of AI application we use every day and don’t even remember about it:

  • Face Detection and Recognition Technology
  • Text Editor (Grammarly)
  • Personalize feed on Social Media
  • Chatbots
  • Recommendation Algorithm (ex: Youtube, Netflix, Spotify, etc)
  • Search Algorithm (ex. Google, Yahoo, etc)
  • Digital Assistants
  • Smart Home Devices

Difference Between RPA and AI

AI and RPA are complementary technologies but with different goals and applications.

RPA, as already mentioned, is a rapidly growing software technology that involves the use of bots to automate mundane and repetitive tasks. RPA is a technology that amplifies business values by streamlining workflow and increasing business productivity. AI is the simulation of intelligent behaviour in machines in which machines are programmed to learn and adapt to a specific environment. It is a far-reaching branch of computer science that involves making machines sufficiently capable of performing complex tasks that would require human intelligence.

Objective RPA: Process of automating business operations and processes with the help of software robots in order to minimize human involvement.

AI goal: Create a technology that allows machines and computers to function as intelligently as humans.

These technologies will increasingly work together because as RPA comes together with AI capabilities, the automation possibilities grow, allowing companies to automate more complex processes.

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