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Millie is not AI

Moneyworks clients will know who Millie is.  Or rather what she is.

Since 2018, we have worked with our Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Developer, Saravanan (who lives in Chennai with his wife and two young children) to build Millie – our in-house robot.

Over the last five and half years, we have automated pretty much everything we can automate in our business (but I keep saying that and I keep finding things to automate -but surely the process we are starting in March is our last one!).

The process of automation is time consuming and requires significant attention to detail.  It starts with defining the process that we want to be automated.  This requires documenting every step that needs to be done by a human.

We started with our most important process in our business, our Annual Review.  This is a very complicated process as it gets information from multiple sites (at the peak, from 26 different sites) and incorporates them and personalizes the information into the Annual Review document.  This took us six months to set up, in three different stages. It was a huge learning curve, and took a lot of work to sort out how to store the data in the first place, how to interpret it, what order to get the information from, how to incorporate it into the process and finally, many many many hours of testing to make sure that the process was working.

The key with this process is that:

Millie can only do what a human can do, and what we tell her to do.

From that process, once we could see how effective and efficient RPA is, we have kept on developing automation for our processes.  Starting with things like when an email address or physical address is changed (where providers have to be notified) to our recent process which automated the download and updating of investment Product Disclosure Statements, and updating of our internal IPS (Investment Product Summary) that we provide to clients, we have reduced the administrative workload in our business.

In addition, we have created new processes that humans never used to do (and couldn’t realistically do) including our Ethical Investment Analysis and our Quarterly Stock Intersection Analysis.

The key to getting Millie to work is that all of the input data has to be in a specified format.  We spent many hours getting that information in that format, and when a provider changes anything on their website (even something that we can’t see, but that affects the coding), we have to update Millie. 

So, as Saravanan says ‘he will be here to help us with Millie until he dies’.  It is an ongoing maintenance process, as things continually change and from time to time the system breaks a little bit (but we have lots of systems to get ‘reruns’ if for example a provider website was offline at the time).

Millie enables us to provide consistent and accurate information both to our cleints and also internally for monitoring our providers.

 BUT

IMPORTANTLY

Millie cannot think for herself.

 

Millie is a Robot.  She is not Artificial Intelligence.

A definition of Artificial Intelligence is:

Artificial intelligence is the science of making machines that can think like humans. It can do things that are considered "smart." AI technology can process large amounts of data in ways, unlike humans. The goal for AI is to be able to do things such as recognize patterns, make decisions, and judge like humans.

Millie can only do what we have taught her to do.  She doesn’t perceive things, she doesn’t make decisions, she doesn’t recognise things.  She doesn’t know how to do anything other than what we have told her to do.  [This is why she can't read and answer your emails to her].

She is not AI.

It is likely that AI will be a significant factor in the development of business in the next 5-10 (and probably longer) years.

We have done quite a bit of research into existing AI models and tools and have yet to find anything that would add value to our business and our clients.  AI still 'hallucinates’ (ie makes things up).

Based on the systems currently available, we don’t see ourselves incorporating AI into our business (Millie makes our life so easy as it is), and we are concerned about the Privacy issues of using AI.  If we were to make our clients information available to an AI app or system, we wouldn’t know where that information was going, where it was being stored, what else it was being used for.

At present, we know that Millie just does ‘processes’, doesn’t (and can’t) think for herself and the information that she works off is contained within the licenced programmes that we subscribe to (UiPath, Microsoft Azure, Solve 360CRM as well as Microsoft Word, Excel). 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any queries about Millie, RPA vs AI  or any comments.



 

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