Thinking about automation vs. autonomous…

Automation is not autonomous. It should to a degree get you closer to autonomous but not all the way. The last part of an autonomous system is AI. While automation can creating make a device smarter it wouldn’t be able to think of a new solution on the fly, which effectively is why you strive for an artificial intelligence.

By the way, side note, why is any intelligence created by humans artificial? If we create it isn’t it just intelligence?

In my book “Transitional Services” I talked about IT and JIT. Where IT represents the information technology team of a company. JIT represents just-in-time information. The example I use in the book has to do with a sales person making a call, and already downloaded to their phone is the last x number of orders by that customer and the current status of those orders. When asked, the JIT data, provides the answer just-in-time!

There were two movies last year that really struck me when it comes to the delta between automation and autonomous. The first was a delightful fun movie called “Chappie” where the creation of an AI helped the world move a little closer to a better place. It showed the interplay between innocence and well humanity at its best and worst. The other movie was Ex Machina. That showed the interplay of ego (human) and in the end the ability of the AI to see past the ego to the real person.

In both the AI was able to make decisions in direct opposition to human rules and orders. The interplay in both is excellent when you consider the line between automation and autonomous.

So part of automation is making things easier. Install an application on your phone, and when you walk in the front door, that application connects to the storage and uploads all your new pictures. Lose your phone? Restore you contacts from the cloud and your photos from your local storage. Automation at its best, make my life easier, backup my data and don’t bother me. Also, don’t prompt me to save or not save my bad pictures just save them all!

We can stretch automation to a much broader interaction.  Smart devices will automate processes that would appear to be autonomous. Reality is that you will set those smart devices. You will create ranges (flash a red LED and let me know when my house gets to 80 degrees and a blue light when it gets below 50 degrees in my house).

The future we push the edge of automation the closer smart devices will get to autonomous decision making. The value of an autonomous sensor could be valuable. Autonomous sensors could bet equipped with voice, retina, finger print scanners and facial recognition and the device could choose which authentication method to use whenever the need arose. Hard to break into a device that never uses the same authentication method twice. You could create that with automation, but the problem is someone can hack the formula. An autonomous device doesn’t use a formula to select an authentication method.

Automated is the reality of now. Autonomous is now the dream of tomorrow. I hope the first AI take’s Chappie’s view of Humanity!


Automation vs. autonomous…