Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are ubiquitous in consumers’ lives, from the “up next” suggestions from your streaming service to routes suggested by your GPS when you plug an address into your phone for directions. Less visible impacts of AI and ML include the use of AI to control data center efficiency and cooling or the management of restaurant wait times, as some companies use AI to make decisions about how many burgers to cook for the day’s lunch rush.
Whereas AI refers to the ability of a computer to emulate human decision-making, ML is the algorithm-driven foundation that enables AI. We can think of automation as the application of AI to develop a series of repeatable tasks or actions designed to accomplish a certain task or execute a process. Companies use automation for transporting products to warehouse workers for packing, processing invoices, and assisting with many other repetitive business tasks that humans have historically performed. Likewise, most people who have worked in an office have probably seen automation show up in the form of the “recognize text” feature in a PDF program.
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