The intersection of automation and artificial intelligence

By Elli Hurst

The difference between automation and artificial intelligence

I get this question a lot – what’s the difference between automation and artificial intelligence?    With so many technologies and trends, it’s easy to get confused.   As with most technology topics, there are opinions – think of the great debate on how to pronounce GIF!  With that as a disclaimer, let me give you my take here.   In its simplest form, automation is creating an automatic process to complete a transaction or job. Think of an alarm on your watch or smart phone, or robots on an auto assembly line. With automation, humans are still involved in the front-end of the process to make decisions and inform the device or robot of what actions to take.

Now for artificial intelligence – Watson is IBM’s artificial intelligence or “cognitive computing” platform.  This technology can understand all forms of data — including unstructured text, images, audio and video.  It can reason, for example it can provide personalized recommendations by understanding a user’s personality, tone, and emotion.  It can learn — utilizing machine learning to grow subject matter expertise, and it can interact in natural language.


IBM’s Ira Allen receives the Blue Prism Innovation Award

IBM’s Ira Allen receives the Blue Prism Innovation Award

Cognitive Automation

IBM is integrating automation with artificial intelligence through IBM Automation with Watson.  It makes automation smarter and more efficient. Watson can assimilate massive amounts of information – more information than any human could possibly consume. It can ingest thousands of documents, understand the context of that knowledge and have a natural language dialogue with users – all of which make it hugely powerful. As for decision-making, Watson can take a corpus of knowledge that it has ingested and either advise an action for the end-user or offer a recommended action with a specified degree of certainty.

Cognitive Automation can determine the action that needs to be taken and then connect directly with an automation robot to actually take that action and improve and learn. The humans that adopt Automation with Watson are able to do more with less effort, to think beyond the status quo using information never before available and to innovate beyond their wildest dreams.

We’d be happy to discuss how we’re helping clients realize dramatic quality and productivity improvements at the intersection of automation and artificial intelligence. In fact, IBM was recently recognized for its IBM Automation with Watson technology at Blue Prism World on June 7 in New York where we received the Blue Prism Innovation Award from Blue Prism CEO, Alastair Bathgate. We’re very proud of the clients we’ve helped with this new approach to automation and honored to be recognized by a valued partner like Blue Prism. No debate about it.

For more on how IBM Automation with Watson is helping clients –

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