RPA, ML and AI Are One Big Happy Family…Right?

The world has been marching towards ML and AI, ever since Arthur Samuel popularized Machine Learning.

Think about it, you have programs these days with inbuilt algorithms that can perform tasks without specifically being programmed to do so. How crazy is that?

That is some really powerful stuff we primates came up with during our tenure on the pale blue dot, but here is where I want you to pay attention.

RPA Has Nothing To Do With ML and AI.

Let me be clear, RPA does have functionalities that rely on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, but it does not strictly rely on them to operate.

So don’t worry, RPA hasn’t been orphaned, but it isn’t the love child of ML and AI either.

You have to understand what RPA does, and what its end goal is.

Another thing you have to understand is AI is an umbrella that hides a lot of ML processes, which is why it’s thrown at everyone and everything in the hopes that something sticks.

Welcome to the world of marketing.

Does it use AI? You betcha! It will monitor your health while you are stationed for a deposit! And no, that might not be a camera down there.

RPA automates repetitive tasks that are better off automated.

Imagine showing up to work just to sit in a greyed out cubicle to push papers every single day. Painful isn’t it? To repeat the exact same activity nonstop.

That is where RPA comes to the rescue.

It takes over all those dull and mundane tasks, freeing you from your work and from your job.

Now you can sit in that grayed out cubicle without having to do any of that repetitive and tiresome nonsense!

That is if they still wish to keep you around, now that your “job” has been automated.

So You Mean To Say, RPA Does Not Use ML/AL At All?

Activities such as retrieving data from various websites and storing them in spreadsheets, or transferring data from excel files either received through mail, or present in a legacy system, into a central data repository are good candidates for automation, and as you can tell, almost none of these processes require ML/AI to operate.

Simple rules and conditions will suffice, which is why we don’t use ML/AI all that much.

That being said, there are however, areas that require their intervention.

ML and AI are a godsend when processing documents. RPA is not smart enough to understand that documents may come in different templates, lengths, or that the positions of the items it has to extract from the documents may vary, or that it may also contain handwritten text and signatures that require extraction.

That is where ML slides in to split the roadblocks, allowing RPA to automate the boring stuff, which is a tagline I absolutely did not plagiarize from AI Sweigart.

It’s not plagiarism, its called borrowing until I get caught.

RPA is industrious, but not smart, so every once in a while we will have to supplement it with some ML/AI laced multi-vitamins to get it up and running like it should.

So What You Are Saying is, RPA is Not Worth Learning.

Yes and No.

Do you love developing super complicated data models, tinkering with different algorithms, and extrapolating insights drawn from statistical analysis of the models you have developed for solving real world problems?

Or did the last paragraph put you to sleep?

If sleep is all you can think off, then Data Science is not for you either.

Sure, you can earn a lot as a Data Scientist, but you can’t take the heart out and expect it to keep beating. You aren’t going to make it very far if you aren’t interested, because to stay afloat in the seas of IT, you have to keep rowing.

RPA is also same, but Data Science requires a whole another level of commitment, which is why they get paid the amount they do.

Don’t learn Data Science if it isn’t your cup of tea. It sure as hell wasn’t mine, but I do skim the surface from time to time, occasionally dipping my toes, just to get it wet.

I don’t travel too deep, because the last thing I’d want is to get stung by a blue ringed data scientist with eight arms and a data model in each.

Be playful, but also be mindful.

Now I’m Confused. I Don’t Particularly “Like” RPA or Data Science, So I…Don’t Even Know What To Say Anymore.


Regardless of the choice you make, you will emerge victorious, as long as you keep the fire burning.

There is always something new to learn, and learn you must, if you like the idea of staying employed and sane at the same time.

But if there is no fire in the first place, then what will you sustain? What will keep you sustained? How are you going to roast those marshmallows without the fire? What do you mean you don’t have any marshmallows?

What were we talking about again?

I Mean, I Want Something With a Decent Pay. I’m At a Stage In My Life Where I’m Not Sure About Anything…

You might not like either field, and jumped on board because that was the only job you could find.

That sounds a lot like someone I know…someone I see daily.

Either way, realize this, you are working so that you can earn.

Not everyone gets to do what they love, and that is ok.

Doing what you love is a privilege, while doing what is right for the future is a responsibility that you ought not to shirk.

Doing what is right, also translates into doing that which will benefit you in the long run. Stick to a craft long enough, and you will eventually become a master at it. Keep jumping from place to place chasing after that fat paycheck, and you will keep hopping about, desperate for a chance to nibble at that fat juicy carrot.

Thicc and juicy.

You might not like that line of reasoning, but that’s the bitter truth. “Follow your passion” is just another way of saying “Give up on anything that makes you uncomfortable.”

Screw that.

Make your choice and stick to it.

You are getting paid for the service you provide, which in a way, gives you meaning. Staying productive wards off the dark mists of depression and apathy.

There is a lot to gain from productive endeavors, than you might think.

I’m Still Confused.

Welcome to IT.

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