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Robotic Process Automation (RPA): Closer to a Rules Engine than to Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

By Dick Weisinger

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is software that can automate repetitive processing tasks that human staff members often need to do  when interacting with a graphical user interface.  The types of tasks that are typically automated include things like handling customer questions, processing files, data entry, and migration of data. By some estimates, the RPA market is expected to hit $5 billion by 2024.

At the heart of RPA is a type of artificial intelligence (AI), albeit typically these apps are often borderline in their use of cutting-edge AI techniques like machine learning.

Anthony Schofield, global operations transformation leader at auditing firm Deloitte, said that “AI is one part of the entire spectrum of new technology tools, ranging from automation to robotic process automation (RPA) to cognitive tools and machine learning. Usually, each gets mixed up and interchanged, but they are a bunch of different technologies that can speed up and replace the decisions for human interaction. AI is at the high end of the spectrum and at the other end is RPA.”

Sri Annaswamy, outsourcing and analytics advisory specialist Swamy and Associates, goes so far to call out people who identify RPA as a type of AI. Annaswamy said it is “possibly the greatest consulting scam of this millennium so far… Many of the basic automation tools provided by RPA vendors such as Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere and the like, actually use simple but very detailed rules-based automation of boring tasks in standardized areas such as accounts receivable. In a simple sense, they are no more than larger versions of the universally used Excel macros … Sadly desperate banks and insurers all across the globe with fundamental revenue-growth problems have got conned by these slick (and some not so slick) charlatans and their thoroughly flawed business cases.”


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10 comments on “Robotic Process Automation (RPA): Closer to a Rules Engine than to Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
  1. Really your article is very impressive.Thank you for giving valuable information it will help me a lot to learn new concepts on RPA in your blog.I suggested to my friends, read your blog posts.

  2. qshore says:

    Course DescriptionCurriculumAbout InstructorsEnroll NowCourse Description Robot Process Automation (RPA) is an automation approach that uses the screens of underlying applications, just like humans do. RPA solutions are external to the applications they drive, and are not integrated with those applications.

  3. Sush says:

    Thanks for the article. Probably FlexRule is the only RPA in the market with a rule engine and analytics.

  4. nareshit says:

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  10. Siva Vadlamuri says:

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