Robotic process automation (RPA) is about more than automating your processes. RPA uses algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and bots to perform higher-level functions. A type of BPA, RPA has evolved from the combination of AI, screen scraping, and workflow automation. Where BPA aims to automate processes to work in concert with people, RPA attempts to replace the people in the processes and replicate human behavior with technology. RPA uses software robots (bots) or AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities.
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The promise of automation, touted by optimistic economists and sanguine futurists, has been that yielding work to machines would eliminate the drudgery of mindless, repetitive labor, freeing humans to fill our days with leisure, creative pursuits, or more dynamic work. In 1930, John Maynard Keynes famously speculated that “automatic machinery and the methods of mass production” would help deliver a 15-hour workweek—and even those hours would only be necessary to help men feel they had something to do.
There are various tools that help software teams build and execute automated tests. Many teams are actively using unit tests as part of their development efforts to verify critical parts of their projects such as libraries, models and methods. Historically, testing user interfaces of desktop-based applications via automated tests have been more challenging, and currently available tools for this are usually commercial and quite expensive.
The practice of performing robotic process automation results in the deployment of attended or unattended software agents to an organization's environment. These software agents, or robots, are deployed to perform pre-defined structured and repetitive sets of business tasks or processes. Artificial intelligence software robots are deployed to handle unstructured data sets and are deployed after performing and deploying robotic process automation. Robotic process automation is the leading gateway for the adoption of artificial intelligence in business environments.