AI and automation as engines for efficiency and growth

Since the birth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the 1950s, technology has been fixed on the creation of a machine…

Since the birth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the 1950s, technology has been fixed on the creation of a machine that can think and reason for itself. Fuelled by the media and films such as The Terminator, there is a largely dystopian view of the potential of AI. Yet many companies today use automation and AI to improve productivity and efficiency.

AI and automation are often used interchangeably, but there are some key differences between the two. AI is a machine or system that can be programmed to seek patterns, display self-learning by adapting through experience, and self-selecting a choice from presented options. In essence, AI is about mimicking the human ability to think or do.

On the other hand, automation is software that follows pre-programmed rules to run processes and is usually applied to monotonous and repetitive tasks. Simply put, automation is about following orders and rules.

The line between AI and automation is blurred because AI often underlines automation and it is not always obvious how to make a clear distinction between them.

How can businesses benefit?

The possibilities of AI and automation are vast and are set to radically change many aspects of a business from HR to finance. New technologies including automated recruitment processing, automated invoicing, task management systems and collaboration tools are changing the work the way that people conduct their work. This significant shift in the way we work has been met with uncertainty, scepticism and caution because, as creatures of habit, humans are rarely open to big change.

The most obvious opposition to automation and AI is the elimination of some jobs – a fear that is not without foundation. AI and automation will make many tasks redundant in certain job roles; however, jobs are made up of a variety of different tasks. While some tasks may be automated, others will become more significant and there should constantly be an opportunity to evolve existing skills and learn new ones.

This report by Sage offers an optimistic evaluation of how automation and AI will integrate into the workplace. It focuses on a future where employees are not drowning in reams of paperwork but instead sharing ideas, creating new opportunities and innovating alongside their peers.

View the full report in the Innovation Zone . Find the Sage report here