Robotic process automation (RPA) has taken the business, IT, and BPO worlds by storm this year. With all the extra talk about robots, popular news sources were quick to ask if the robot revolution was coming. The truth is that, in many ways, it’s already here.
RPA is known for its ability to interact with all kinds of programs like a human, but there are other areas of software robotics that excel in other ways. The robots that control stock exchanges in New York and London, for example, are fully competent traders. Long gone are the days of a crowded trading floor filled with shouting and hand waving. Now, the trading is done by faster-than-lightning computers that know the ins and outs of the stock exchange. There’s even a bit of an arms race between exchange companies to have the shortest length of cable to the central trading hub, which would give them a fraction of a second’s advantage. Mistakes do happen from time to time, but usually, everything goes smoothly and the rest of the world is oblivious.
This year, the Associated Press announced that they would be increasing the number of articles they produce using writing robots. Don’t worry, you won’t see robots conducting interviews or doing investigative journalism anytime soon. The AP was already using automated robots to churn out data-driven press releases and updates before now, and that will likely extend to reporting financial data, sports news, and reports on breaking news and emergencies. It’s not too difficult to teach a writing robot the basic formula of these article types, and they’ve already proven to be pretty good at it. Like RPA, the greatest benefit of these robots is that they take care of the menial work and let the professionals focus on more interesting stories. Besides, there are times you just want the facts, regardless of how it’s packaged.
Then there are the software robots not in a computer but in a car! Google continued to make progress in 2014 on its self-driving car prototype (a new one was unveiled a few days ago) which utilizes advanced perception software to keep track of its position on the road, speed, and relative position to other vehicles. Google is currently looking for a car manufacturing partner to make their prototype into a real product. The word from the industry is that the technology of self-driving cars will be perfected by the year 2025.
Software robots are already at work in a multitude of ways. Does your organization have room to try them and see the amazing results?