AI IN FORENSIC SCIENCE: 5 Ways in Which AI is a Success in Criminal Investigation

Fingerprints and evidences. Crimes and investigations. Magnifying glasses and test reports. Detectives and forensic experts. Sidney Sheldon and Goodfellas and Catch Me If You Can…you get the point. We’re definitely referring to crime thrillers and all the paraphernalia we can associate this genre with.

Think about the last time you heard or read about a criminal investigation being carried out. Was it only the cops or the CBI or any such equivalent investigation body typically dealing with the entire case? While it is often people from these domains who ostensibly handle such investigations, another very prominent branch is the forensic department. Whether it’s matching fingerprints, conducting postmortem or producing forensic reports, this department does it all. With rapid technical advancement in all the fields, particularly in the domain of investigation and forensic science, Artificial Intelligence has successfully made its grand entry into this domain as well! How is AI being implemented in the field of forensic science?
Last time, we spoke to you about the role of RPA in law. Well, we’re back with a blog; and today, let’s have a look at the role of AI in forensics:

1.  INVESTIGATION IS FUN, BUT CAN WE SAY THE SAME ABOUT CONSOLIDATING DATA?

Forensic investigation involves extensive research collecting of evidence from different sources and then consolidating the same in order to arrive at logical conclusions. While the process of vigilantly deriving such data from ‘mysterious’ sources can certainly be a productive and interesting job, handling large chunks of data can often be confusing and chaotic. AI can help forensic experts with handling data effectively and performing meta-analysis at various levels during the investigation. This can save a considerable amount of time and also ensure that forensic investigators have enough time and inclination to work on other important tasks!

2. OKAY…BUT WILL AI ALSO ENSURE THAT ALL THIS DATA IS ACCESSIBLE? YES!

AI understands that it’s not sufficient to merely collect and analyse information. The collected data must also be easily accessible to the concerned parties, so that it may be retrieved at any point of time when it’s required. And so, AI technology can be effectively applied to prepare repositories of data. It can be systematically stored in your systems and retrieved as and when required.

3. “EVENTUALLY, EVERYTHING CONNECTS…” AND AI CAN HELP YOU RECOGNIZE THESE PATTERNS!

“Eventually, everything connects…” is a statement by Charles Eames. And as an investigator, it is important to recognize these intricate connections. This helps one to connect two and two together and complete the whole picture. However, a lot of times, patterns can be very specific and complex and thus difficult to keep track of. This is why investigators often take the help of modern technology to recognize such patterns. AI technology can help with patterns such as identifying different elements of one image; detecting patterns in emails and messages; and matching new information with different types of existing data in the system databases. It can also help with matching suspect information with the existing criminal records and intimating investigators of any previous criminal activity that the concerned suspect may have been involved in.

4. “BUT…WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE?” ASKED EVERY INVESTIGATOR EVER.

Yes, we’re talking evidence – the most crucial aspect of every criminal investigation. Without sufficient evidence, every hypothesis and argument may be rightly negated, however relevant or evident it may intuitively appear. And AI technology can contribute significantly to the investigator’s constant quest for evidence. For example, it can produce case stories and graphics of hypothetical scenarios which can help investigators analyze the given premise in the right direction. Moreover, the various statistical tools offered by AI help to formulate logical evidences that aid successful investigations of criminal cases.

5. IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT GATHERING AND STORING DATA…AI CAN BE QUITE AN ANALYST, TOO!

We know that non-AI computational techniques also exist in analyzing information. However, these methods may often not cater to large volumes of data. And that’s where AI technology steps in. Artificial Intelligence can help investigators analyze large chunks of data by applying statistical and probability-based principles. Here’s where data mining comes in handy. This process involves the discovery of patterns in data with the help of machine learning and statistical tools. Data mining can be of considerable assistance to the crime branch.

So there! That was our list of contributions that AI can make to the field of forensic science and criminal investigation. Criminology and forensics is not only about applying various techniques and analyzing evidences to reach logical inferences – it also involves intuition, keen observation skills and sensitivity. And technology is a poor substitute when it comes to these typically human qualities. So, as long as criminal investigation exists, humans will be extensively required in this challenging field. Let us leave you with a quote from “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”, a story from the renowned Sherlock Holmes collection:

“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”

SOURCES:

  1. News-Medical
  2. SAS-Space

AI IN EDUCATION: 5 Reasons Why Artificial Intelligence is the Way to Go in Education

Think of the days you were in school – a phase of learning, playing and growing that remains etched in our minds for the rest of our lives. While one often completes his/her formal education during one’s youth, can we so rigidly restrict learning and education based on one’s chronological age?
Pause your reading for a moment and look around you. Chances are you learnt something new even within this one moment of reflection! Learning is always a continuous process and education certainly extends beyond the four walls of one’s school and university. And as the world progresses and develops, it is also extremely crucial for each of us to update ourselves in accordance with the ongoing changes. This is where Artificial Intelligence steps in. As the world is increasingly transitioning into a global village, why not let AI contribute in its big little way to globalizing education and introducing innovative learning tools?
We’re back with a blog; and today, it’s time to take a look at the integral role of AI in the education sector:

1. ‘CAUSE TEACHERS ALSO NEED ASSISTANCE IN ASSESSMENTS…

A substantial amount of time is invested by teachers every semester on correcting exam papers and assigning grades. This monotonous and hectic task increases their workload. It also leaves very less time for other primary activities such as lesson planning and thinking of innovative teaching strategies. Enter AI! Yes, there may be certain limitations to the domains AI can cover to assist grading. However, grading tools including Gradoscope are now being adapted in order to help tutors and instructors with grading exams and even homework on the AI platform. Moreover, it also ensures that students receive their results faster and with increased accuracy. Gradecam is another platform that can be used by students to simply write down answers to multiple-choice questions. Following this, the technology compares the student’s answer to the correct one provided in the answer key and assigns grades accordingly.

2. ADMIT IT: THE ADMISSION PROCEDURE IS AS TIME-CONSUMING AS IT’S CRUCIAL!

Every academic year, the admission procedures are nothing short of an elaborate ceremony for schools and universities across the globe. Whether it is enrolling new students on board or promoting existing students to higher grades, the process is definitely time-consuming and often repetitive. With AI, bots can easily carry out tabulation of admission data such as student details and grades. This frees the non-teaching staff of schools and universities from engaging in monotonous processes.

3. SMART LESSONS ON SMARTPHONES – FOR SMART LEARNING!

Smart is the new cool today, whether it’s phones or learning techniques. While hard-work and determination are still extremely relevant and important virtues, working smart is also a significant attribute. And that’s where AI contributes to ensure a smart learning environment for all learners!
Traditional classrooms often tend to uphold the notion that all pupils belonging to a certain grade or level possess more or less the same grasping and comprehension levels. However, every individual is a different entity, independent of his/her educational level. And education, as a powerful medium of imparting knowledge and learning, must realize this fact.
With AI-powered educational apps, it is possible for tutors to look beyond the mid-point of the ‘normal distribution curve’ and instead offer customized recommendation to each student. Tutors can also consider learning preferences of individual students. Based on this, they can adapt to varying techniques such as flashcards, audios etc. Such AI apps can also provide quick study and revision material and last minute exam prep notes to students at the click of a button!

4. NOW LEVERAGE ON TECHNOLOGY TO IDENTIFY YOUR PUPIL’S GRASPING SPEED AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE…

More often than not, classrooms with large pupil strengths are unable to keep adequate track of individual students’ performances and grasping speeds. Some students in the classroom are quick learners who don’t require micro-management. Yet others may lag behind due to their slower processing speed and may require personalized attention. As a continuation to our previous point on smart lessons, AI can also contribute to assessing individual students’ learning speed and academic performance. Such micro-level understanding of each student’s academic status can help the tutor cater to individual pupils’ needs with ease and efficiency.

5. e-LEARNING: YOUR ‘WINDOW’ TO THE WORLD!

Yeah, we already gave you a lengthy heads-up on how the ‘world is becoming a global village’ and so on. And in such a scenario, can the education sector stay untouched by the modernization? Certainly not! With e-learning platforms offering innovative and engaging learning techniques for learners across the globe, the world is not only a global village, but a global classroom encompassing towns, cities and villages and connecting students and teachers. We all know the buzz that platforms like Udemy and Coursera have rightly generated. There are also a number of other platforms under the hood of Learning Management System, which focus on interactive and innovative learning between learners and tutors, as well as between individual learners.

This was our list of top 5 benefits AI can bring about in the education sector. But education is not always about academics – the infrastructure in educational campuses also plays a very important role in effective learning. AI can also help with planning of expenditures during extra-curricular events. Deep learning technologies can be applied to make data-driven predictions pertaining to seating arrangements, food orders etc. This can help to reduce costs significantly. So, is AI the genie all set to take over the education industry? More importantly, will it replace humans? The answer is a resounding ‘no’. Rather, AI only provides a platform that efficiently facilitates more human interactions. So, as long as education exists as a medium of learning and development, human interactions can never go out of fashion.

SOURCES
1. TeachThought
2. Forbes
3. elearning Industry

RPA IN TRAVEL AND TOURISM: How Automation can Enhance the Tourism Industry’s Journey

“If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet,” said Rachel Wolchin.

As the world spreads its vast expanse before us, the sky is really the limit when it comes to travelling. From unimaginable heights tens of thousands of feet above sea level, to depths where even the sun-rays cannot penetrate, our earth has it all. With such diversity and uniqueness surrounding us, it seems quite an idea to leave our mundane existence behind and retreat on travel sprees every once in a while – relaxing and ‘detoxing’ from the stress and strain levied on us by our otherwise fast-paced lives.

While this idea certainly sounds exciting, there are certain industries that exert tremendous efforts to ensure that our travel plans are a resounding success. Last time, we spoke about one of these industries – namely, hospitality. We shared with you some of the ways in which RPA and AI can help this industry ascend in its journey by doing away with repetitive and rule-based tasks. We’re back with a blog; and this time around, it’s time for us to look at some ways in which RPA can help the broader domain of travel and tourism:

1. DIFFICULTIES IN REGULATING THE REGULATORY COMPLIANCE? ALLOW RPA TO STEP IN!
As more and more previously untouched places are now being unearthed, explored and frequented, it is also of supreme importance for any nation to ensure the safety and security of its citizens, and make sure that its tourists comply with the requirements pertaining to the same. However, organizing and maintaining a systematic record of thousands of tourists can become cumbersome and time-consuming. While it is natural for humans to commit errors, it is not advisable to risk security by not keeping track of the validity statuses of passports, visas and other legal documents. That’s where RPA steps in. With automation, it is now possible for software bots to organize all security-related documents and information. Moreover, this stored data is also easily accessible and updatable in case of any changes in regulations. Why worry, when your software bots can act as your guards and ensure security?

2. DO WE HAVE AN EFFICIENT PROCESS TO PROCESS THOSE PAYMENTS?
With the expansion of any industry comes the massive responsibility of processing payments and orders at a large scale. While this process is extremely integral in any domain, it can become extremely tedious for employees to carry out the processing. Allow RPA to run its magic wand over this business process, and all your payments and orders can be efficiently processed while eliminating errors.

3. MEET YOUR AWESOME CHATBOT BUDDIES, AGAIN!
Chatbots or virtual assistants are emerging as the embodiments of an intelligent and efficient digital world. As in several other domains, they play an extremely vital role in the travel industry, too. Today, with several travel websites and online booking portals, not only the ease of travel by itself, but also the paraphernalia of planning and organizing of the trips has become truly efficient and unbelievably quick. Now, with virtual assistants entering the picture, you can now receive suggestions pertaining to the best plans and modes of travel right at your fingertips. Plus, these virtual assistants also come with exciting features such as the sentiment analyzer, which identifies the customer’s emotional states based on their calls or messages, and intimates the customer care department accordingly.

Wait…that’s not it! Virtual assistants are also capable of much more. Take Hello Hipmunk for example – the official smartie virtual assistant of Hipmunk, the reputed travel website. Try adding Hello Hipmunk on CC in your emails concerning travel, and sit back as this virtual assistant derives all the key details about your excursion and provides you with relevant suggestions!

4. UPDATING PNR STATUS HAS NEVER BEEN EASIER!
Passenger Name Record, or PNR, is one of the most crucial documentations in the domain of travel and transport. Stored in a repository called Computer Reservation System (CRS), this record consists of important passenger details including his/her name, contact information and ticket details. With thousands of passengers booking their tickets to different locations on a daily basis, it becomes an extremely meticulous and time-consuming task for the staff at the back-end to document such comprehensive information. And so, RPA enters the picture to help out. Software bots can efficiently enter and store the PNR information of more number of passengers in a day than humans manually can. Moreover, any change in the PNR information can be instantly updated by the bot without any hassle. Moreover, automation also makes this process quicker and error-free!

5. CANCELLATIONS CANNOT BE AVOIDED, BUT MONOTONY CAN!
Plans change, unexpected events occur, change is the only constant. Okay…the bottom line is that ticket cancellations are bound to happen. And on a daily basis, they happen in large numbers, especially in airways and railways. Manually documenting these cancellations can be repetitive and unproductive for the staff to whom this task has been assigned. You guessed it…RPA is our solution! Process bots can easily update any ticket cancellations on the system, and automatically declare the vacancy of the specific seats in the transport. Moreover, refund transactions can also be carried out without hassle via automation software.

It has been scientifically proven that travel leads to a number of health benefits, including lowered stress levels and reduced risk of heart disease. However, without the adequate amenities and facilities, the travel experience can turn out to be disastrous. So, we owe it to the heroes of our travel adventures, i.e. the travel industry personnel, to help them get rid of monotony and stagnation and help them ascend in their professional journeys. Let’s welcome the automation revolution today!

Sources:

  1. UiPath
  2. NIIT Technologies
  3. WNS

RPA AND AI IN HOSPITALITY: 6 Ways in Which AI and Automation Have a Bright Future in the Hotel Industry

“True hospitality consists of giving the best of yourself to your guests,” said Eleanor Roosevelt.

Travelling and exploring new foods and cultures and cuisines certainly unfolds a new and exciting world before us. The diversity in this planet affords plenty of room for discovering and re-discovering the world around as well as within each of us. However, while having a wonderful time exploring new places and cultures, have we paused to consider the efforts involved in establishing a world conducive to our various adventures? The hospitality industry is definitely the ‘behind-the-scenes’ domain that leaves no stone un-turned to ensure that this process of exploration and discovery is hassle-free and comfortable for every enthusiast. From providing accommodation and transportation, to food and beverage and luxury facilities for its clients, the hotel and hospitality industry works round the clock to ensure we make good memories.
And with the unimaginable growth and expansion taking place today, nearly every nook and cranny of the world is accessible to its eager tourists. Hence, it applies that the hospitality sector must work doubly hard to ensure that these tourists are comfortable in course of their ventures. In such a scenario, it often becomes tedious and time-consuming for humans to be everywhere, shuffling tasks and being superheroes. And that’s where your new-age superhero, Artificial Intelligence, steps in and takes matters forward!
We’re back with a blog; and today, it’s time to consider some brilliant ways in which AI can work wonders in the hotel and hospitality sector:

1. NEW GUESTS? ALLOW AUTOMATION TO LAY THE RED CARPET…
Welcoming new guests into the hotel premises and ensuring their comfortable and peaceful stay is every hotel’s primary responsibility. However, the bigger and more luxurious the hotel, the more the number of clients; and consequently, the more the amount of efforts exerted by the staff. That’s where automation and AI technology step in to make life more efficient. With the guestroom automation feature, hotel rooms can now be automated to adjust room-temperature levels in accordance with the ‘occupied’ or ‘vacant’ status of a room. Moreover, with the Guest Automation System being applied in leading five-star hotels today, it is possible for guests to automate all electrical appliances (including the A.C., fan and lights) using the ‘master switch’. The Shangri-La hotel in UAE famously applies guestroom automation in providing day-to-day hospitality services to its guests.

2. ENTER, GUESTS! SO…ENTER MORE DATA?
The entry and exit of your esteemed guests often translates into the entry of a massive amount of data pertaining to the same. And undoubtedly, this task induces monotony and stagnation, and prevents professional growth for the hotel staff. The good news is that this data entry task is very much ‘automable’! With automation, that whole chunk of data pertaining to the occupancy status of the rooms as well as extremely integral information to promote sustainable living – such as data on energy saving and staff responses to guest calls can now be taken care of.

3. BECAUSE THE ENVIRONMENT HOSTS US EVERYDAY…
Just like a hotel hosts its guests on a daily basis, the environment around us also continues to host us every single day, providing us with the necessary resources and space. And so, it follows that we, as a society, owe it back to nature. A report by Energy Star states that 47,000 hotels across America incur an annual expenditure of $2,196 per available room, which amounts to 6% of all operating costs. This alarming statistic is reason enough for the hotel industry to begin to consider environment-friendly alternatives on priority. AI is here to help you out in your journey towards a sustainable living. AI enables all electrical appliances in a room to be automatically switched off when the occupancy status of the room changes to ‘vacant’. What’s more, the electricity automatically switches to standby mode when the guest is not in the room, but still somewhere in the vicinity (for e.g. at the balcony).

4. KNOCK, KNOCK! CHATBOT SERVICE…
Like in many other significant domains, chatbots and virtual assistants can play an indispensible role in the hospitality industry, too. These virtual friends are available to your guests 24/7, answering any questions and providing constant assistance. These allow for more efficient and quick customer service, preventing any delays in attending to your guests while also providing a much-needed respite to the hotel staff.

5. NOW, YOUR MOBILE PHONE IS LITERALLY THE ‘KEY’…
No, the word ‘key’ isn’t just a metaphor. With the digital transformation attaining unimaginable heights, your phone can literally act as the key to your hotel-room! Now, high-end five-star hotels have successfully enabled digital check-in for their guests, wherein the guests can check into their hotel rooms using the hotel app instead of queuing up at the reception to acquire the room keys. This is not only a major time-saver for the guests, but also paves way for the hotel staff to engage in more productive tasks pertaining to hospitality and hotel management.

6. “HOW DID WE FARE?” NOW, YOUR HOTEL GUESTS CAN FEEL FREE TO SHARE…
Guest reviews are extremely important sources of constructive feedback for any hotel. However, it often happens that this feedback is not very comprehensive owing to dearth of time on part of the departing guest. Moreover, hotels are often apprehensive to directly approach guests for their feedback. With digitization, the entire feedback process can be transformed into a more efficient and convenient one. Automating the guest review process ensures that guests who have recently checked out of the hotel receive custom emails requesting their feedback. This allows for the guests to fill up the feedback forms in a hassle-free and relaxed manner while also increasing the possibility of a more in-depth feedback.
So, here we were, with the 6 major benefits of deploying AI and automation technology into the hotel and hospitality industry. While digitization is certainly the way to go for any hotel to increase its efficiency and productivity, it cannot replace the concern and care provided by human staff. The key to successful automation in this industry is to identify the processes that are indeed monotonous and rule-based, and to automate these in order to increase overall efficiency and promote employee growth.

SOURCES:
1. HospitalityTech
2. Revfine
3. Energy Star
4. Pacific Controls

DATA SCIENCE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE: There’s a data scientist behind those movie recommendations!

THERE’S A DATA SCIENTIST BEHIND THOSE MOVIE RECOMMENDATIONS!
Do you remember the last time you watched a Netflix crime thriller movie like “The Departed”, and in turn, received recommendations for other amazing movies such as “The Godfather” or “Gone Baby Gone”? Welcome to the world of data science and Machine Learning!

In the 21st Century postmodern world, every nook and cranny of the world is in the process of becoming connected through virtual reality. CDs, DVD players and even cable television are now being considered “worn out” and “old technology” in order to pave way for more upcoming and happening ones such as Netflix, Prime and YouTube. However, what’s even more upcoming is that this technology seems to understand our unique preferences, and moreover, also suggest other relevant TV shows and web series based on one’s viewing habits. The same applies to online shopping as well – it may have happened scores of times that Amazon suggested other cool Apple products based on your previous iPhone 6 purchase.
The question that now arises is how these websites can be so omniscient as to recognize multiple unique viewing and purchasing habits so efficiently and accurately, an also crawl the database for other similar items and present it to the respective Internet users.

We’re back with a blog, and today, let’s venture into the upcoming and exciting world of data science, which has been popularly termed by Turing Award winner Jim Gray as “the sexiest job of the 21st Century”. Let’s have a sneak peek into the world where data scientists are busy with their numerous algorithms that allow machines to independently carry out these prediction tasks with ease:

1. So what’s so scientific in data science?
While science and technology have ensured that machines and technical equipment make our lives unbelievably efficient and quicker every single day, there is still a severe direct dependence of technological equipment on humans if the traditional sources of science and technology be relied upon alone. It is also important to ensure that technology work by itself for a major part of its functioning, instead of depending on constant human intervention. Moreover, with the inception of modern-day software and myriad online platforms to ensure that the world is well-connected, there is a massive explosion of data produced every single day. Just as it is essential to ensure less clutter and more clarity in our external worlds, the online world also needs to be maintained and de-cluttered on a regular basis. And in order to ensure that the technology of Machine Learning and organization of data may be incorporated to software systems, it is important to move one step beyond traditional science and technology, and embrace the world of ‘data science’.
Data scientists perform a world of algorithms – incorporating scientific techniques and systems in order to organize and store massive amounts of online information. If the internet world is a cobweb of information, data scientists are the spiders – venturing through the silk-threads efficiently.

2.Whoa! So how does a data scientist perform that herculean task?
The job of a data scientist is seeped into statistics and algorithms. Data scientists apply predictive modeling, machine learning and inferential statistics in the course of their work. Applying these different tools and techniques, a data scientist then traces certain unique patterns that are characteristic of specific internet users; and systematically stores this information in the database.
However, the task of a data scientist does not end here. A data scientist also uses the technology of Machine Learning, and allows your software to become independent enough to implement these algorithms effectively, so that the machines do not have to depend on humans every time such predictions need to be carried out.
And that, my friends, is the mystery behind all those Amazon and Netflix recommendations that you receive when you’re on an online shopping spree, or when you binge-watch your favourite web series on that lazy weekend!

The ROLE OF A SOLUTION ARCHITECT: Here’s How an RPA Solutions Architect Plays an Integral Role in the Automation Process

“A good design will actually design the company,” says Donald Norman.
Especially so, when a company desires the company of bots. All along, we have been telling you how RPA is the need of the hour, and the various processes and trivia involved in the project framework delivery. It is no surprise that the actual development and deployment process in RPA forms an extremely integral part of the entire project; and any errors in these processes can result in the creation of faulty bots. However, are processes directly handed over to the developers in order for them to bestow life on the process robots? Just as a home needs an architect to design its various chambers, automation also requires one to carefully construct a systematic framework to be implemented in the project. Let’s welcome the architects of automation, solution architects! In our earlier blog, we’ve already discussed, in a nutshell, 5 different job profiles in the RPA domain. We’re back with a blog, and today, it’s time to dedicate a few minutes and paragraphs to the persons who form the pillars of automation.

1.HAVE WE PLANNED OUT OUR PLAN ADEQUATELY?
While planning is a crucial step, one must ensure that the plan addresses all important and intricate phases and aspects of the venture, so that the implementation can be smooth and hassle-free. It is the responsibility of a Business Analyst to study the various processes of a business and then decide which of these processes may be automated. It is here that the Solution Architect steps in. The role of a Solution Architect begins when this automation idea needs to be put into practice, but requires a systematic approach for this implementation to be carried out.

2.CAPTURING THE AUTOMATION PROCESS FOR YOUR BUSINESS PROCESS
The Solution Architect devices effective process maps and comes up with relevant solutions that can boost the automation process to a great extent, and act as a framework for the RPA developers to easily step into their roles. The solution architect essentially designs two types of process maps or designs – PDD or Process Design Document; and TDD, or Technical Design Document. While the former design is aimed at addressing the ‘as-is process’ of the RPA project, the latter one attempts at capturing the ‘to-be process’.
Once the processes to be automated have been earmarked by the Business Analyst, the Solution Architect then carefully studies these processes, and determines how the automation can be carried out in order to meet the requirements of the company as evaluated by the Business Analyst. The Solution Architect has to constantly keep in mind the aims and objectives of the automation process that have already been agreed upon by the clients as well as the automation providers; while also presenting a tangible and plausible solution for automating the rule-based task in question.

3.PROCESS DESIGN DOCUMENT
The Process Design Document focuses on the overall automation process, from data gathering, process standardization and recommendations, to development, testing and deployment of the process robots. The solution architect constantly communicates with the Business Analysts and Project Managers in order to ensure that there is no disagreement between the persons involved in the process; and to bridge any discrepancies in the process.
It is after the development of the Process Design Document capturing the as-is process, that the Standard Operating Procedure or SOP may be devised in order to break down the complex processes and sequences of the plan and ensure easy programming. One also needs to design the process capture template, modeling standards and process maps, before the actual development procedures commence.

4.LET’S GET TECHNICAL!
Now, we have successfully completed the as-is process, and received a thumbs-up for the same from the clients, as well as the various other persons involved in the project. We have also successfully completed the recommendations phase, wherein the specific RPA processes to be carried out are earmarked, and the unnecessary ones are eliminated, with detailed analyses of cost benefits and feasibility. Now, our RPA developers are almost all set to take the RPA project to the next level by actually creating our bots. But…are we missing out on something?
The role of the solution architect does not simply end at producing the Process Design Document. While the PDD helps in identifying the various stages and phases of the project, this document is not sufficient in itself for the RPA developers to take over their herculean task. The Solution Architect now has to create and document another design specially dedicated to the RPA developers; namely, the Technical Design Document or TDD. The Technical Design Document focuses specifically on the guidelines to be followed by the RPA developers while developing the bot; as well as the technical specifications to be employed in the software. This document enables our able RPA developers to follow the plan through with ease, and with a systematic framework to fall back on during times of confusion or doubt. Along with the TDD, a Target Operating Model is also designed in order to chalk out the vision or aim of the RPA development project.

In this way, the Solution Architect acts as the backbone of the RPA development process; carefully setting up the foundation of the RPA project so that the construction may become easier and hassle-free. The solution architects ensure that the plan does not simply remain a shallow idea, but is made viable, plausible and accessible to all the persons involved in the project.

THE PROS AND CONS OF AI: A tightrope walk

Artificial Intelligence: A Boon or a Bane?

With respect to Artificial Intelligence, the buzzword of the 21st Century, Dave Waters says:

“Artificial Intelligence is an infant at best. Once it becomes a teenager and believes it is smarter than its parents, will AI rebel?”

In today’s rapidly advancing world, the term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ is certainly not uncommon to hear or read, in magazines and blog posts (such as those posted by XLNC!); at business meetings and on television. In our everyday lives, a lot of us apply AI technology to our mundane organizational as well as other personal tasks, more often than not without even realizing its presence. However, a substantial population of individuals and groups are still extremely skeptical about this illusive technology, and the idea of machines functioning autonomously without human intervention. While AI enthusiasts often sound gung-ho about the fields of Machine Learning and Automation – claiming these to make life more efficient and dynamic – a lot of others still struggle with getting over the apprehension that AI might take complete control of human life, leaving us slaves to a Frankenstein’s monster.
We’re back with a blog; and today, let’s discuss the various conventions and perceptions associated with the AI technology; and objectively evaluate AI’s benefits and drawbacks against the backdrop of the 21st Century world:

I.Hey! AI ain’t all that bad, after all…
For those of you who are apprehensive and skeptical about embracing a technology as “frightening” and “overpowering” as Artificial Intelligence, we’re here to break the ice between AI and you. Here we are, with the positive side of Artificial Intelligence:

a.Artificial Intelligence does not recognize intellectual laziness
While human intelligence has managed to achieve leaps and bounds in various fields at different levels, it is always highly susceptible to spells of complacence and “intellectual laziness”. That’s where AI steps in. Siri, Alexa and Cortana do not tire of assisting you regardless of the time of day or night (for more dope on this, check out our previous blog on chatbots – http://xlnctechnologies.com/5-ways-in-which-chatbots-are-the-best-assistance/); and your personalized AI tutors will never tire of teaching you or helping you with teaching others. This is one of the reasons for Artificial Intelligence being promoted over manual task completion.

b.To err is human, so humans created Artificial Intelligence.
Einstein famously said, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” As living beings, mistakes and blunders have always been a simultaneous process alongside the successes and accomplishments. However, Artificial Intelligence is definitely not a blunder (okay, hang on…we’re coming to the cons!). When programmed accurately, an AI technology is less likely to commit errors; and is usually flexible across different platforms.

c.‘Cause humans are so quick, they find themselves too slow…
Today, the world is now resorting to quickness and instantaneousness in whatever it does – so much so, that the natural speed of humans is sometimes too slow for this world. And so, AI bridges the gap between the fast progressing world and the people residing in it, by providing faster and more efficient ways and means of reaching the desired ends. AI is being widely used in almost all sectors today, including healthcare, education, transportation and communication, and defense and military, in order to ensure speed and accuracy with minimal compromise on either.

d.Your AI is sensitive, but not emotional.
While chatbots and GPS may be courteous and sensitive to your needs, they certainly do not possess deeper emotions and mood-swings; and you can rest assured that they will not complain of overwork and fatigue. And such a detached concern for the customers ensures that they can be reliable, diligent and caring, even when the work is strenuous and hectic.

II. AI ain’t all that good either…
But, are we headed towards utopia? Is AI really so perfect that one can totally overlook even remote possibilities of failures or disadvantages? Most definitely not! Just like everything else on this earth, AI, too, has two sides; and a lot of people are skeptical about applying this technology for this reason. Come, let’s evaluate the various drawbacks of AI, and brainstorm on each:

a.Yes, my processes will be more efficient, but at what ‘cost’?
Once installed and applied to our day-to-day lives, Artificial Intelligence can certainly be quite viable and cost effective. However, in the first place, it is important to install it to our already existing systems and ensure that it functions optimally and independently. And these processes are not exactly economical. Designing the specific tool of AI and then training the machine to operate without human intervention can be an expensive task, and one needs to be prepared to incur the expenditure in order to enjoy the results later.

b.Your AI is emotionally intelligent, but sometimes not intelligently emotional
Yes, AI may have been designed to understand human emotions and analyze sentiments. AI may also be able to carry out complex tasks that humans may never be able to undertake. However, there is a certain depth in perception and perspective that no machine has ever been able to touch, at least till now. And due to this incapability, AI ventures can sometimes turn into not-so-pleasant adventures. For example, in 2016, Microsoft’s Twitter chatbot created havoc when it began abusing, and passing pro-Nazi comments such as “Hitler was right.” While this experimental chatbot, Tay, was only imitating some humans who had been playing mischief, the situation was certainly alarming. Had the AI device been entirely controlled and mediated by a human, the situation may have probably been handled better.
AI technology may be perceived as an innocent child whose mind, though extremely active, is a clean slate. It is the responsibility of humans to ensure it doesn’t waiver from the right path.

c.“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Einstein meant this only for human intelligence.
Artificial Intelligence apparently cannot have fun beyond a certain extent – it is limited to the innovative strategies and programming already stored inside them by humans. And so, intrinsic creativity does not figure anywhere here. That’s a faculty exclusive to humans – and processes sans human intervention can, well, only do so much to help matters.

d.While taking the help of machines, are we becoming machines ourselves?
This is one of the greatest concerns that the modern, artificially intelligent world is having to face in the recent times. There is always a threat that Artificial Intelligence can replace human intelligence in a big way; however, a lot of us don’t realize that as creators of Artificial Intelligence, it is we who have the upper-hand over our creations. As users, one must realize that machines and technology are not meant for encouraging intellectual laziness and procrastination; but rather, for facilitating increased efficiency and application of one’s intellect. And any device, when misused, can be detrimental to society and individuals. AI is no different.

Source:

https://www.infoworld.com/article/3184205/technology-business/danger-danger-10-alarming-examples-of-ai-gone-wild.html#slide2

MEET YOUR CHATTY CHATBOTS: 5 Ways in Which Chatbots are the Best Virtual Assistants

“Chatbots are the new websites, and messaging platforms are the new browsers,” someone said.

Personal assistants and secretaries have existed for as long as there have been people at higher posts in offices and companies. Whether it’s typing out a letter or sending out invites for meetings, they have done it all. While these jobs of helping out another person at work have ensured enough employment generation through the decades, we can all agree that these jobs are far from lucrative. The rule-based, repetitive tasks often tend to reduce people to two hands performing uninteresting tasks without applying their intellect.
So how about a personal assistant who is ever-willing to help – whether it’s setting your alarms or informing you about today’s weather; or simply raising your spirits with a joke or tongue-twister when you’re under the weather. Welcome to the world of chatbots, your 24/7 personal assistants!
We’re back with a blog, and today, let’s dedicate a blog post to our dedicated, diligent, and sometimes quite eccentric, virtual assistants. These virtual assistants have been around for quite some time now, starting with the first of their clan, Apple’s Siri. According to Go-Gulf, the number of people using virtual personal assistants has been estimated to reach 1.8 billion by 2021. Today, we have a handful of virtual assistants; including Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Google Assistant for smartphones and Google home; performing a world of tasks for every day:

1.Your chatbots don’t sleep at work. And they’re at work ALL THE TIME.
Let’s face it. Human assistants must not be overworked under any circumstances; and they deserve their 7 hours of sleep and timely breaks. Ever observed Cortana or Alexa not in their seats owing to tea-break or simply because they have already finished the given hours of service? Your chatbots are never, ever exhausted. Whether you want them to carry out extensive research for your business, or entertain you with a poem on one of those insomniac nights, they are available 24/7.

2.Hundred queries, one assistant!
Life can certainly be chaotic and confusing sometimes. And don’t we all look for that go-to person to consult during times of confusion? But how many queries can even the most learned and well-informed person answer at once? Yes, let’s face it – humans do have their own limitations, and it’s alright. And that’s why we have designed virtual assistants who can perform tasks that humans generally can’t – such as processing, with unbelievable accuracy, hundreds of queries asked at the same time from a thousand different devices; and providing suitable, spontaneous, and sometimes even witty responses to every individual. That’s the beauty of Artificial Intelligence.

3.Chatbots are like chameleons – they can adapt themselves to every scenario!
As discussed before, humans cannot be everywhere; and different online platforms have been designed by us in order to facilitate easier and more efficient communication across the globe. With chatbots having entered the scene, the question arises as to whether these awesome assistants can be integrated to the vast repertoire of systems and platforms built by us over the years. The answer is a resounding YES! Your chatbots are like chameleons – they can easily change colour in order to adapt themselves to the environment they are exposed to. Thus, they set up shop at practically any domain; helping you with your queries and organizing sprees; your chaotic moments and phases of boredom.

4.No, your chatbot shall not demand salary on the 1st of the coming month!
While the job profiles of customer service executives and personal assistants have always ensured employment generation, these occupations, needless to say, function on salary basis. You cannot, and must not, hire a person with dismal or no income provided to him/her. However, chatbots do not need three square-meals a day. They are more than happy to reside in the software platform in which you place them, making it their forever home; and when you ask Siri or Google Assistant whether they have families of their own, their ultimate happiness is in serving you! Other virtual assistants and chatbots are no different. It is quite economical to maintain your chatbot; updating it from time-to-time and modifying it to meet the requirements of the given platform.

5.Human spontaneity minus human impatience = Chatty Chatbot!
Your chatbot can converse with you about almost anything under the sun – keeping the to-and-fro nature of human conversation intact, while also eliminating the negative aspects of the same; such as boredom and impatience. This gives customers a near-perfect interaction experience, where they are helped by the chatbots with great precision, regardless of the time of the day/night, and the complexity level of the question.
And last but not the least, chatbots can even be customized to entertain you in whatever rational way you deem fit – right from playing games with you, to reciting poems or jokes, and engaging in occasional situational comedy during the course of your conversations.

Artificial Intelligence can certainly make life more efficient in every way; and the ‘chatbot’ wonder is probably the best example of the same. However, chatbots go one step beyond the macro level of Artificial Intelligence, to include the benefits of AI’s subfield, Machine Learning; which enables them to carry out their tasks independently, without human intervention. In a lot of ways, having bestowed life on AI and ML, humans have created forces that are capable of performing unbelievable feats that humans are either totally incapable of, or require to invest excessive amounts of time and effort to complete. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is, after all, the human caliber and intellect that has led to such an invincible creation in the first place; and so, it is our responsibility to use our creations in as optimal and secure a manner as possible.

RPA AT WORK: What are some Business Processes that can be Automated?

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all,”says Peter Drucker.

Comprising 2% of the total body weight, the human brain is said to be the most complexly designed structure in the universe. It comes as no surprise that the capabilities of the human mind are incredibly vast and almost limitless. In such a scenario, the only factor that prevents the mind from achieving its full potential is…humans themselves.
And when we rule-based tasks without engaging this mighty power within us, we are negating the immense potential that lies within us. That’s where robots step in, and relieve us of such uninteresting, repetitive tasks; enabling humans to utilize their mind to the best of their ability.
But the question that now arises is, how do we efficiently classify which tasks can be automated? And since there are innumerable domains across the globe, how can we dissect the tasks within each one and arrive at a conclusion? We’re back with a blog; and this time, we shall talk about the different processes that can be automated within various popular fields:

1.Let’s market automation to you, while you market your product to the world
Tom Fishburne says: “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.”
You might have the best product or service in the world, but unless you know how to advertise it, the product cannot achieve its full potential. And if a domain as dynamic and stimulating as marketing be reduced to a bunch of monotonous and stagnant tasks, marketers cannot reach their maximum caliber either. And RPA helps you fly as a marketer, by breaking down and simplifying tedious processes such as client communication. While planning and executing out-of-the-box strategies may sound very exciting and upcoming, marketers often rightly begin to feel exasperated when it all ultimately boils down to sending bulk messages on social media, and e-mails to dozens of potential clients every single day, and boring notifications to your clients each time you’re done with that innovative and catchy blog post. Your software bots can jump in here, and perform all of these tasks for you. Whether it’s sending out pings, or answering those ‘tring-trings’, your bot is always at your service.

2.Who says sales doesn’t require creativity?
A lot of people misconstrue the sales sector to consist solely of ‘selling the product’. However, sales, when performed optimally, is nothing less than a creative art – right from sounding professional and convincing to the customers, to generating leads, the sales department has a lot of responsibility on its shoulders. So instead of bringing in something different to the table, and thinking of innovative ways to attract potential customers, why should the sales team settle for anything less?
Tasks such as manual data collection, and sending e-mail attachments and bulk messages can impede creativity, and lead to monotony. RPA is your magic wand to transport you to a far more dynamic world, where sales can be stimulating and challenging, as opposed to static and stagnant. Also, using the different lead generation automation tools, you can now not only automate your leads, but also rotate the processto evenly accommodate all platforms and sectors.

3.Don’t let those workflow processes hinder your ‘work flow’!
“The secret in business is creativity,” says Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. However, the door to creativity is often blocked with uninteresting and repetitive tasks involved in operating the business. When these tasks are taken care of, businessmen can typically begin to think out-of-the-box, and come up with interesting business solutions. RPA understands the predicament of businessmen, and works to perform all the manual tasks for them, thus paving way to a more dynamic and bright future. From efficiently managing reports and data, to digitalizing various business processes and handling client communication, your bot can do it all. Business Process Automation can lead to considerable cost reduction in business, and improve the company-client relationship to a great extent.

4.As an employee working in Human Resource, you, too, are an important ‘human’ resource.
From profile selection and recruitment, to employee contracts and documentation, and ensuring a conducive working environment, the Human Resource department serves as the backbone to any organization. However, while facilitating a workable and humane environment for other employees as well as candidates and potential employees, employees from HR often end up carrying out a number of robotic tasks themselves. These tasks include documentation of details of every candidate and employee; creating and maintaining employee records; managing and updating records pertaining to employee benefits, payrolls, transfer and retirement, etc.
What if your bot takes care of all the monotonous documentations and record maintaining, while you continue to focus on unravelling the full potential of your human resources? Yes, this is 100% possible with RPA. Process robots can manage a number of tedious tasks such as maintaining a record of employee onboarding and offboarding; keeping a track of when employees become eligible for benefits; sending out bulk messages to employees in order to intimate them of any organizational changes and new developments; leave requests and records (Paid Leaves, Sick Leaves etc.); performance appraisals; and maintaining a record of transfers, retirements and pension packages. Have you automated your HR processes yet?

5.Now, don’t tax yourself with tax anymore!
Filing tax returns and maintaining tax records can certainly be a taxing job. Let’s make it easier for you. RPA can be efficiently used to automate tax processes relating to computation, verifying tax returns, and conducting taxation comparisons. RPA can bring about a world of convenience and efficiency to both tax administrators as well as taxpayers, by making the processes of both collection and payment much easier.

Business processes require humans as much as they need bots. The human brain can be put to use in order to come up with extremely unique and innovative business ideas and solutions, while process robots take care of all the rule-based processes that have been bogging down humans all along. In order to optimally exercise the capabilities of a bot, it is important to consider whether a particular domain of business consists of ‘automable’ processes; and if so, the other paraphernalia surrounding it, including the end-to-end automation process, the duration, and the budget involved. With effective automation of relevant processes, one can certainly expect upcoming businesses to flourish in the years to come.

DELVING ‘DEEPER’ INTO AI: Key Differences between Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning

KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, MACHINE LEARNING AND DEEP LEARNING

The human race has been constantly challenging the notion of “impossible” for centuries and epochs on end. With unbelievable inventions and discoveries and out-of-the-box ideas to overcome constraints at every level, we have emerged as a supreme species and carved an almost invincible niche for ourselves in the planet. And our successor-of-sorts is Artificial Intelligence.
Efficient delegation of tasks has also been one of our strengths – and over the past few years, we have taken this quality of ours to another level by not only delegating tasks efficiently, but also manufacturing loyal entities to carry these out with minimal errors and maximum output. Artificial Intelligence is indeed an almost magical invention by our race.
While Artificial Intelligence is being used by individuals and groups across the globe, there is an acute lack of awareness amongst many users about the precise difference between a machine being overtly instructed to perform a particular task, and technology being made independent to carry out these tasks without any human assistance. We’re back with a blog; and today, we’re going to discuss Artificial Intelligence at the macro as well as micro levels – with its two major offshoots: Machine Learning and Deep Learning.

1.Meet Artificial Intelligence. Again. In All Its Glory.
While artificial intelligence is, more often than not, an integral part of the modern world at various levels, it is often taken for granted in the sense that one rarely stops to ponder about the mechanisms involved in the working of AI. And when you open the door to the processes involved in AI, you unearth a Pandora’s box.
Artificial Intelligence is a one-stop term for referring to the ability of machines to observe and understand certain rule-based tasks typically performed by humans, and then emulate these tasks in order to relieve humans of monotony, and pave the way for us to perform more intellectually stimulating tasks. Self-driving cars; video games; the names of your friends that your keyboard-prediction completes for you; your conversations with Siri and Alexa; and Amazon’s suggestions for you based on your previous online shopping spree – it’s time to thank AI for all of these supercool phenomena.
But…wait. Is a human secretly helping Siri follow my instructions every single time?
Have you ever wondered with amazement at how (at least most of the times) Siri is not only able to follow your instructions efficiently, but also converse with you spontaneously when you inquire about its personal life and well-being? And also come up with different, dynamic, even witty responses every single time?
Obviously, the development of virtual assistants like Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa would be quite futile if humans were expected to function behind the scenes every single time, instructing these assistants to provide satisfactory answers to the users.

2.Enter, machine learning.
“The greatest sign of success for a teacher…is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist,’” says Maria Montessori. And Machine Learning can be conceptualized as technology’s teacher. Machine Learning uses the mechanisms of AI, but goes a step further; and ‘empowers’ technological equipment by making your machines not only intelligent, but also independent.
ML involves enabling our technological equipment to not only work efficiently on its own, but also to constantly adapt itself to any new information or experience over time. If your device is able to suggest those cool Versace leather-jackets for you based on your previous overcoat purchases on Amazon, you need to thank Machine Learning for it!

3.But hang on. Your machines are capable of EVEN ‘deeper’ stuff!
Try to think of the first time you, as a toddler, learnt to label a chair as ‘chair’. Now try and recollect the various other chairs you may have been accustomed to ever since. Were all these chairs identical to the one you had first labelled as a child? Most likely, not at all. But did you manage to still find a broad similarity between all these chairs, and label all of them under the umbrella-term of ‘chair’? That’s exactly what deep learning teaches machines to do.
While ML teaches technology to perform AI-based tasks independently, DL goes even beyond the ‘independence’ phase, and teaches your machines to also be smart enough to carry out abstract connections, and form prototypical conceptualizations. It consists of certain algorithms that process and store every relevant input, based on which they come up with a statistical model, which becomes the prototypical output. This process continues until a precise prototypical image of the output has been obtained. In our day-to-day lives, Deep Learning is able to predict and process extensive data online, and typically provide accurate solutions to the same. If ML enables online retail websites to suggest a certain brand of clothes based on your previous shopping records, DL takes online shopping to another level. If you have been repeatedly purchasing products whose target audience is women, DL not only provides you suggestions based on that classy pair of heels you bought the last time, but also some trending tops and accessories based on its prediction of your gender-identity. That’s the brilliance of Deep Learning in AI.
And so, while AI is the broadest category that one can think of for machines being able to mimic humans in their mundane tasks, AI is not complete in itself, without its subsets of Machine Learning and Deep Learning. And together, AI, ML and DL constantly work in tandem in order to make our lives a little more efficient and productive, every single day.

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