The History of Automation

The History of Automation

October 12, 2021


It may seem to the general public as if artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) sprung up out of nowhere. One day, you hear of automation through AI, and now there’s AI solutions for everything. It can seem random, but actually, like anything in life, there’s a history to it. 

Where did Automation Get Its Start?

The technology we know today may be recent, but the concept of automation is not. Automatic control devices have been around since Greek and Arab times (from 300 BC to 1200 AD). One of the first automatic devices known to man was the water clock. This was a device that measured time based on the flow of liquid from one cup to the other. This is quite prehistoric compared to the robots we have today, but still, it was a form of automation. 

The industrial revolution also brought a host of automation inventions. Inventions like temperature regulators were created to control furnaces and machines. This created a whirl of regulators that were based in automation wherein you didn’t have to control them in the moment for them to work. These regulation devices were created in the 1600s. 

In the 1700s, the focus shifted to creating tools that were driven by water power. This created the automated spinning mill and an automatic flour mill. Automation during the 1600s to late 1800s was largely brought about out of a need to control speed and power in the newly created and highly used steam engine. 

As the 20th century came about, automated tools were geared toward the benefit of the growth of electricity. Central control rooms were introduced in the 1920s, though they had on-off switches, so automation is debatable. The First and Second World Wars also brought automation as a solution to many problems. In the 1970s, digital control became a consistent trend for factories to have. 

In the early 1900s, automation began to be applied to the workforce, and significant results were seen. For instance, a glass bottle blowing company introduced automatic machines to speed up business. They found that the machine could be operated by a two-man crew, working 12 hours shifts each, and could produce 17,280 bottles in 24 hours. This was huge compared to the 2,880 bottles a six-man crew was making prior to automation. 

In modern times, automation has taken over the manufacturing scene to make assembly run smoothly. This automation has helped businesses gain more from their work and take the burden off the worker. From here, automation has grown into many sectors of our life and has made many tedious and time-consuming tasks a thing of the past. 

Automation may have only recently been coined AI, but it’s been going on for centuries. AI is the type of automation that is making accounting and financial processes through automated software real time savers. Bluesheets has used this technology in our software and hardware to your benefit.  

AI Can Help with Your Finances

AI was first introduced and termed AI at the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence in 1956 by John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky. From here, AI grew with the growth of personal computers. In fact, most of the AI growth happened from 1957 to 1974. 

Computer AI then led into RPA. RPA stems from Business Process Management (BPM), created in the 1990s. BPM created technologies that automated business processes. RPA stemmed out of this field. 

In the early 2000s, RPA came onto the automation scene. Companies saw that much of the labor they were outsourcing consisted of simple and repetitive tasks that could ultimately be carried out by a computer that could do it for free. Bluesheets harnesses the machine learning within these robotic process automations to achieve end to end automation of your financial reporting.  It begins with automated retrieval of your financial data through importing, sending, or uploading financial documents, to automated processing of that data no matter the format whether print or digital, and lastly, to exporting the processed reports to your preferred platforms in an easily mapped configuration.   

Finances Can be Easier

Automation through the use of AI and RPAs will help your accounting and finance departments achieve a desired level of success through easy to manage solutions. 

Get in touch with us to help reach these triumphs!