The Difference Between Artificial Intelligence and Automation

Artificial Intelligence and Automation

Can you define the differences between artificial intelligence (AI) and automation?

More than half of workers still fear that automating and AI will put their jobs at risk. True, some current jobs might not exist in five years. But job loss is a natural societal evolution — after all, there are far fewer chimney sweeps in the world now that homes are heated by electricity and gas. And the evolved roles that can result from these technologies will be engaging and fulfilling in a way that was impossible before AI and automation entered the workplace.

The Definitions of Artificial Intelligence and Automation

Sometimes a complicated idea is best explained with a simple analogy. Try thinking of the terms from this perspective:

  • AI: Refers to “smart” technology. AI can deal with conceptual ideas and uncertainty and should analyze and apply new information to react to situations. Machine learning is one subset of AI.
  • Automation: Refers to “dumb” technology powered by programmable bots. Automation follows rules to handle straightforward tasks, and can’t react to new situations.

Despite — and sometimes due to — their differences, AI and automation are increasingly integrated. Users are injecting automation into AI with the intent of automating a greater number of tasks, such as simplifying decision making. The ability to automate tasks intelligently is a major application of AI, but it’s just one application.

Source: Sean Chou - CMS Wire