Artificial Intelligence in Business Process Automation

“I can’t wait to push some paper today!” Said no one ever. The mind-numbing work to keep the wheels of commerce rolling—filling out invoices, deciphering hand-written memos, processing insurance claims—can be a real grind. It’s been that way since the time when Ebenezer Scrooge refused to provide another lump of coal to help warm overworked clerk Bob Cratchit. Lacking frailty of mind and body, artificial intelligence for business process automation appears to be a no-brainer.

In fact, a number of companies are employing AI techniques such as machine learning, computer vision and natural language processing to automate business processes. White-collar outsourcing is no longer going to India—it’s moving to the cloud. On one hand, that means job losses in the short term. It’s already happening. The tech-loving Japanese are among the first to be replaced. For example, IBM Watson is now doing the job of more than 30 employees at an insurance company by calculating payouts. On the other hand, there’s a lot of money in outsourcing. Global business process outsourcing was worth $63.5 billion in 2015, according to Statista. Companies rolling out artificial intelligence for business processes say automation will free employees from mundane tasks for more dynamic work, like checking Facebook more often.

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