#TechTalk: What is Artificial Intelligence, Anyway?

Posted by IntegrityM | | Technology & AI

Technology doesn’t have to be complicated. IntegrityM CTO Swathi Young’s #TechTalk series is designed to provide quick, digestible explanations of the latest trends in healthcare technology and innovation so that you can stay ahead of the game before you finish your morning coffee.

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotic Process Automation; these words have spread across the government contracting industry like wildfire, and are becoming mainstays in RFPs and RFIs. What do these terms actually mean? Here are some brief explanations:

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a broad field in computer science that deals with using machine intelligence to support decision-making. There are multiple divisions under AI:  Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Robotics, Speech and Vision, and more.

Machine Learning

Machine learning (ML) is a subset of AI, in which machines learn from vast quantities of data to make future predictions.  Machine learning is used to solve business problems.

Machines use advanced mathematics and statistical techniques to learn from patterns of data without being explicitly programmed. An example is feeding an algorithm millions of credit card fraud transactions to identify patterns, so that when a potential fraud activity does occur, the ML algorithms detect, alert, and prevent the transaction from going through.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Robotic Process Automation doesn’t fall under AI, but it is often paired with AI capabilities. RPA involves assigning repetitive tasks to machines that replicate the workflow of simple, repetitive human activities.

For example, when an Accounts Payable department receives an employee travel reimbursement, the procedural steps of checking the invoice, moving it through the approval process, and remitting the payment can be done automatically using RPA.

It is a simple tactic that leads to massive productivity gains. Because the workforce is relieved of simple and easily replicable data entry, they can focus more on higher level and more ambiguous tasks.

How “smart” is AI?

AI tools have exceeded human-level performance in some specific tasks, such as strategy games (e.g., Jeopardy, Chess, Go, Crosswords etc.); visual image detection (detecting cancer cells from CT Scans); and parsing natural language (e.g., home voice assistants). That being said, A.I. has a long way to go before catching up to human intelligence. Flaws in the datasets machines use to learn can lead to faulty patterns and conclusions, and context-heavy or irregular data is still best handled by human minds. We’ll cover these vulnerabilities and more in subsequent posts.


Integrity Management Services, Inc. (IntegrityM) is a certified women-owned small business, ISO 9001:2015 certified, CMMI Level 3 Services and FISMA compliant organization. IntegrityM was created to support the program integrity efforts of federal and state government programs, as well as private sector organizations. Results are achieved through consulting services such as statistical and data analytics, technology solutions, compliance, audit, investigation, medical review, and training.

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