Regardless of the industry, at every trade show, in every webinar and at every lunch and learn the use of artificial intelligence or blockchain has been a topic. It’s been stated and debated about how these technologies are going to revolutionize industries and change our lives. That can be a bit unnerving.
However, there is hope for us, AKA Bob. Blockchain might give us smart contracts built from nothing but data points. No need to also enter the data into another system, the contract is the system. AI will take the document (Word, PDF, etc) and it will interpret the information and populate the system automatically. Poor Bob, who previously found, interpreted and entered the data, gets left out of the process. But wait….
Blockchain will have some utility in some specific industries or processes as will AI. However, Bob will always be needed in some capacity. Unless each clause in a contract can be written in specifics and absolutes understood and agreed to by both sides, Bob becomes critical. Imagine the amount of front-end time that will be necessary to create contracts or transactions with zero unspecified factors.
For AI to work well, the documents cannot have ambiguity and if the documents originate as paper, the documents cannot have any imperfections when scanning. AI may not be able to get over the ambiguity hurdle even with the most robust machine learning or text analytics. Many documents will never become paper thanks to digital signatures, so that helps. However, the same issue exists regarding ambiguity in the language and mis-interpretation by the machine.
What does this all mean? In the context of document management and workflow, there will always need to be an intervening step to review the captured or interpreted information when the confidence level falls outside some parameter, like 99% confidence. Even when Bob is the sole source of adding content to systems, this review step should be implemented. Afterall, we are all human or human-infused.