Why all the hype over artificial intelligence (AI)?

Robots do all the work while we sit back and relax.

Is this our new reality?

Not for now, but Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and AI are helping relieve the monotony of repetitive tasks, reduce errors, improve decision making, and provide us with powerful business insights not previously available.

We’ll take a closer look at the impact AI is having on financial processes in our newest blog series, starting with this general introduction aimed at helping understand terminology and context. Next, we’ll look at how the virtual workforce maps to your current workforce, and finally, we’ll examine how AI can enhance processes in the finance department.

Let’s jump in.

In the 1950s, visionary and mathematician, Alan Turing, proposed The Turing Test to determine if computers could replicate human intelligence. Dubbed, "the imitation game," the test was intended to measure a machine's ability to think — and in doing so, if it could convince a human that it's a real person. A machine's success at thinking is an essential concept in the philosophy of AI and machine learning (ML) — and the race to pass the Turing Test has been on ever since.

Thankfully, we needn't pass the Turing Test to harness the power of AI. We are already reaping AI's benefits across a range of applications and industries. More specifically in our industry, AI is enabling finance teams to recreate the behavior and knowledge of an experienced employee.

So, what exactly do we mean by AI, ML and RPA?

  • Artificial Intelligence is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks usually requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.
  • Machine Learning is the scientific study of algorithms and statistical models that computer systems use to perform a specific task without using explicit instructions, relying on patterns and inference instead. It is seen as a subset of artificial intelligence.
  • Robotic Process Automation is the use of software to handle high-volume, repeatable tasks that previously required humans to perform, often with AI and ML capabilities built in.

In short, AI and ML are the brain and RPA is the execution.

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