New Name, More Meaningful Mission: Schar School Unveils ‘Intelligent Automation Initiative’

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David K. Rehr: ‘The technology continues to quickly evolve around us…”

The groundbreaking Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Initiative at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University has changed its name to the Intelligent Automation (IA) Initiative. The new name better reflects its mission as the world’s technological ecosystem, particularly all things AI, continues to evolve. 

The Schar School’s Center for Business Civic Engagement unveiled RPA in early 2021 in partnership with UiPath, a leading enterprise RPA software company, to develop technology that enables users—particularly governments and universities—to configure computer software to emulate and integrate the actions of a human interacting within digital systems to execute and automate business processes.

The IA Initiative builds on that early work by incorporating “other digital technologies beyond the robotic process automation, and including in its overall mission the advancement of successful automation practices and the tools already in practice,” said Schar School Professor David K. Rehr, co-founder of the RPA Initiative. “The technology continues to quickly evolve around us, and our original name no longer represents our contributions in their entirety.”

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Dorin Munteanu: AI ‘is becoming the foundation for business operations, economic competitiveness, and national security…’

The newly branded IA Initiative will continue its partnership with Virginia colleges and universities to improve effectiveness and efficiency through the adoption of software automation. That program is now called the Virginia Academic Intelligent Automation Community of Practice, or VA Academic IA CoP.

“The use of intelligent automation at scale is becoming the foundation for business operations, economic competitiveness, and national security,” said Dorin Munteanu, co-founder of the RPA Initiative. “We want to make sure our work value aligns with the public sector and, particularly, academia stakeholders’ needs.”

The vision and mission, added Rehr, “remain the same—to become the nation’s prominent academic initiative for the study of intelligent automation’s complexities and its ramifications on society.”

“We are making terrific progress through the initiative, but there is much left to do to ensure our nation gets the full positive benefits of intelligent automation in the digital age,” Munteanu said.