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Automation Anywhere customers always have the best view of the automation economy. I’ve seen their innovation and creativity firsthand as I’ve traveled around the globe, meeting with customers and leading innovation workshops for our Pathfinder Program. In recent months, an increasing number of our conversations have centered around how generative AI and automation can be combined for an even greater impact.

We started our Pathfinder Program to help customers grow the impact of their automation programs globally, and it’s exploded with helpful expert and peer guidance. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a popular topic in the community, and the onslaught of articles describing generative AI’s groundbreaking potential has only ramped up that interest.

These customers are already imagining creative new use cases that leverage the Automation Success Platform’s capabilities and the machine learning, natural language processing, and complex data analysis powering generative AI technologies. This is a fundamental change in how we approach AI and automation because it greatly expands what’s possible. What we would consider typical or standard automation handles repetitive, rules-based processes. But, generative AI opens up possibilities to automate tasks like complex document processing, language translation, sales outreach, and more.

Together, automation and generative AI can help you achieve new productivity levels and discover valuable business insights humans would otherwise overlook. Our customers are already exploring several innovative use cases for automation and generative AI, and these ideas are poised to transform how your business works yet again.

Generative AI for citizen developer support

Citizen developers lack computer-science backgrounds but are equipped to build automations. They’re typically motivated business users who’ve identified processes ripe for automation and want to create pinpoint solutions to meet their needs. It’s the long tail of automation, taking a grassroots approach to harness automation opportunities at scale, expanding an automation program’s impact, and enabling business teams to prioritize their automation efforts. That said, citizen developers typically need a decent amount of training and will have frequent questions that more experienced developers may need to address.

An Automation Anywhere customer in Australia is considering using generative AI to provide automated support to its newly-trained citizen developers. For example, if a citizen developer sees an error message, generative AI can provide relevant troubleshooting tips quickly. It’s a creative way to help scale citizen developer efforts without overloading experienced developers or creating support bottlenecks. If a citizen developer needs to escalate, experienced developers could skip the fundamental troubleshooting steps for a faster support experience.

Generative AI for unstructured data processing

Processing forms-based data is common to every business. Automated processing is relatively straightforward when the forms contain structured data in fixed locations. Forms without a set format contain semi-structured data, which is more complex to capture. Think of a date or account number that appears in different locations or fields depending on the type of form. Automation Anywhere’s Document Automation is a great choice when extracting data from structured or semi-structured forms. Unstructured data is the most complex when it comes to reliable data extraction. The exact location of unstructured data may be unknown or mixed with other or irrelevant information, like in an email or image.

An Automation Anywhere customer in the UK is exploring generative AI combined with Automation Anywhere to process business documents where the data is unstructured such as contracts, scientific research, quarterly financial reports, customer emails, and more. For example, unstructured data in a PDF can be extracted by OCR and passed to generative AI to intelligently extract the requested data and automatically populate a data field. This process could create summaries of technical or detailed documents instead of tasking a human to manually (and slowly!) read through, understand, and provide an overview.

Generative AI for resilient automation

Software, especially cloud-based applications, receives frequent updates that impact existing automations. These changes can be problematic for bots trained to automate tasks using a particular interface or transfer data using a now out-of-date application programming interface (API) integration. These automation-breaking updates can interrupt mission-critical processes and undermine automation efforts, metrics, and progress toward goals. But, generative AI has the potential to detect and adjust to application changes without interruption, even updating the automation team with details of the changes.

An Automation Anywhere customer in the US is considering generative AI to improve how automations respond to changes in application interfaces. Generative AI models may not be quite there yet but say a submit button moves as part of an application update. A typical automation would return an error when it can’t submit the information. But, generative AI could scan the application interface to locate the submit button based on code, design, visual cues, or other elements. Once found, the automation could be updated automatically, developers could be alerted to review the change, and the process could continue without waiting for a developer to make the required update.

What’s next for generative AI and automation

If you believe the influencers, generative AI has the potential to change the course of humanity. More tangibly, conversations with Automation Anywhere customers offer a glimpse of what's to come, and it is a fascinating place where automation and AI will push each other to new heights.

Digital assistants like Siri and Alexa have conditioned us to assume the narrow, simplistic use of AI to handle basic tasks. But the capabilities of the Automation Success Platform combined creatively with generative AI opens up exciting new possibilities, and the future will be defined by how we imaginatively combine automation and AI to solve complex business problems.

We see a day where processes dynamically modify themselves based on machine feedback and insights, and bots get smarter and more versatile as they take on unstructured work in addition to routine tasks. Generative AI will accelerate our move to this future because automation will understand context, learn, and adapt to change. More enterprises will begin to use generative AI in unexpected ways and unlock workers’ true potential to shape a new frontier of possibility. The best is yet to come, and the only limit is your imagination.

About Micah Smith

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Micah Smith is a developer evangelist and lover of all things automation. His background is in Robotic Process Automation, document imaging, and optical character recognition.

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