The Key Difference between Artificial Intelligence and RPA
In simple terms we can associate RPA with "doing" whereas Artificial Intelligence (AI) is about "thinking" and "learning". Both RPA and AI are two horizontal technologies that are distinct in their goals and interfaces.
RPA is intended to automated repetitive, clerical tasks to save business and white-collar workers time. RPA is built by RPA engineers via a GUI, or a graphical interface, which they use to arrange the sequence of tasks RPA automates. For the most part, RPA is based on rules, or if-then statements that tell a program what to do under certain conditions.
AI is an umbrella term that includes rules engines like the kind mentioned above. But that’s not the exciting side of AI, and it’s usually not what people mean when they refer to AI these days. Usually, they are referring to machine learning or deep learning; i.e. programs that are capable of rewriting themselves in response to their environment or the data they’re exposed to.
AI is a horizontal technology that makes decisions about data. Sometimes it makes decisions, or predictions, based on rules that humans manually wrote (rules engines); sometimes it makes decisions based on a bunch of numeric parameters that it arrived at after much trial and error (machine learning).
It would be apt to conclude by saying RPA is the "hands" and the AI is the "brain", which would effectively mean RPA needs to be guided at all the times either by the brain (AI) or by the rules defined by a human.