The difference between artificial intelligence and automation

Chris Boos is featured prominently on the homepage of the Arago website, along with an immediate introduction to his own personal mission statement: ‘empowering human potential, freeing up time for creativity and innovative thinking through artificial intelligence (AI).’ 

It’s a notably human-focussed shop window for the now 23 year old German company, which specialises in helping clients to leverage artificial intelligence to reinvent their business models for the digital age. One anecdote Boos tells us is around the computer game Civilisation, where the turn-based strategy has been used to facilitate greater machine learning within an investment fund.   

As he talks about the ability of games to educate both children and adults, it’s clear that Boos is taking a ‘ground up’ approach to building digital intelligence. In an age when most media consultants are preaching the importance of cultural overhaul in order to inspire digital change, it’s a strategy that will not be so unfamiliar to the publishing industry. 

We recently caught up with Boos at the Digital Innovators Summit (DIS) in Berlin, and began by asking him to explain the difference between emerging artificial intelligence and the previous wave of digital automation that gave us, for example, programmatic advertising. 



“I’d say that the difference between AI and industrialisation is that with the latter you’re trying to make a case for building a factory or some form of automation for cases that are completely repeatable,” says Boos, CEO and Founder of Arago. “In AI you’re trying to reproduce the knowledge of people who are already doing things really well, meaning that it’s applicable anywhere you have people that have knowledge. And that’s exactly what we’re doing, applying it to verticals, into industries, and across industries.

Speaking on the ultimate objective or end destination for what a successful AI looks like, Boos is very quick emphasise the power of game-driven learning to provide a sound environment for developing intelligence.  

“The Holy Grail of AI would be transfer learning, so if we can learn something in a strategy game for example and re-apply it in an investment fund – which is what we’ve actually done, that’s the goal. You can see for example in the strategy game Civilisation, where you have to make decisions on where you build your cities and so on. This process of where to build the cities is exactly the same process that you need in choosing what real estate to invest into if you’re going to describe the environment, the context well.” 

The theory behind this practice stretches beyond digital environments, going right back to the roots of human development in learning through play. 

See the video of Chris’ presentation at DIS. You can download the slides here

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