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I'm a software engineer turned wedding photographer and the voice behind Tech Savvy Creative. I love all things technology and spent many years in the world of IT before running my own business. I'm a Mama to Kendall and Quinn, and a Wife to Andrew, and utilizing technology effectively is so important to me because it means I get to spend more time with my favorite people!

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AI & Automations

Automations vs Artificial Intelligence

This post was originally written in the spring of 2023, and surprise surprise – some of the tech has changed since then! This post was updated in June 2024 to reflect current features in some tools. 

It’s no secret that AI is the ultimate buzzword of 2023. Seriously, you can’t spend 3 minutes on the internet without seeing mention of it. With all the buzz about AI, I’m also seeing a frequent mistake – something being described as AI when its not!

Did you know that Automations and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are NOT the same thing??

While they share similarities, the word automations and artificial intelligence (AI) can’t always be used interchangeably. These two terms are very different from each other! AI is a type of automation, but not all automations are AI!

Automations vs Artificial Intelligence

Automations typically carry out routine tasks and jobs. They are rule-based and follow pre-determined commands. Some examples of an automation would be your email marketing funnel, invoice reminders, and meeting reminders. “When x happens, do x” automations created in tools like Zapier or another tool are also great examples of automations. 

Update: Zapier now supports ChatGPT and a few other AI tools. While Zapier itself is not an AI tool, it can now utilize AI features within its automations! Pretty amazing!

Artificial Intelligence learns and evolves, and gets smarter over time. AI is able to make it’s own decisions based on the environment its in and the information it has. AI able to make decisions, and does not run on a firm set of rules like automations do.

Examples of Automations

  • When your invoices, contracts, and reminders are automatically sent via your CRM. (I use Sprout Studio* for my CRM and love it! Some other great options are Honeybook* & Dubsado*)
  • Workflows and automated email marketing via Flodesk*, ConvertKit, MailChimp, or another email marketing tool.
  • Connecting two tools together via Zapier and creating automations that trigger when one tool does something.
  • Automatically generating SOPs with Tango* as you do the work!
  • Your online photo gallery (like Pixieset, or Sprout Studio*) accepting orders from your clients, sending them to the lab, and then directly to them with no intervention from you!
  • Automatically sending someone a link on IG when they comment the word —–. (You can do this in tools like ManyChat!*)

Examples of Artificial Intelligence

  • Photo editing software that makes editing decisions based on the image, the lighting situation, and then learns from any changes you make for future edits (like @Imagen AI*!)
  • Using AI to generate a quiz to build your email list and give visitors instant value (I use Interact* for my Quiz and I LOVE it!)
  • Voice AI software that is able to learn your voice so it can say things for you on your behalf (Descript* and Prime Voice AI)
  • Pic-Time using AI to identify people in a gallery of photos – so all you have to do is click your face and all of the photos you’re in will pop up! 
  • Generative AI Tools that can help you create new content. This can be found in ChatGPT, Hoppy Copy*, Canva’s Magic Write*, Notion AI*, Tailwind*, Copy.AI, Jasper AI* just to name a few!
  • Autonomous Cars
  • How Amazon creepily recommends the perfect things for you even though they have a bazillion products
  • The dreaded “algorithm” – Instagram uses Machine Learning (a subset of AI) to learn your behavior so it can give you personalized results.


We are going to hear more and more about AI as time moves along, but remember, there is a difference in automations vs AI. Automations are strictly rule-based and perform routine tasks, while AI learns and evolves, making its own decisions based on the environment and information it has. Both automations and AI have amazing use cases in our businesses. By utilizing them effectively, we can improve our processes and spend less time doing the mundane, and more time doing what matters the most.




Graphic with words on it that says Automations vs Artificial Intelligence, whats the difference? Graphic with words on it that says Automations vs Artificial Intelligence, whats the difference? Graphic with words on it that says Automations vs Artificial Intelligence, whats the difference? Graphic with words on it that says Automations vs Artificial Intelligence, whats the difference?

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