Project Management

Are You Really Using 'Artificial Intelligence'?

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

It seems that these days, every provider is touting how they are using artificial intelligence solutions in their products.

Are we at the point where—like in the early days of database management system (DBMS) products—everyone claimed to have it? (I can recall in the early 1980s, one computer manufacturer claimed its line editor was a database management tool…argh!).

And with the arrival of robotic process automation, it seems that the definition of “robots” and “robotics” is getting redefined. So, from the top, let’s review what makes something legitimately classifiable as an AI and a robotics tool.

Is the AI definition getting out of hand?
To begin with, literature tends to define AI in various ways, which leads some to believe that it—like beauty—is in the eye of the beholder. At its most rudimentary level, some define AI as any computer that has been trained to do human tasks (see What Exactly Is Artificial Intelligence?).

Based on that definition, I would ask, “What isn’t AI?” When I was growing up, AI had a much more ridged definition, and it went something like this:

AI is a computer (or software application) that can mimic human reasoning and problem-solving capabilities. AI systems can adapt their reasoning and logic processes based on changes they encounter in …

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