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Human-in-the-Loop Automation in 2024: Benefits & Applications

According to PwC, 76% of organizations have switched to automation due to Covid-19 and the shift to remote work. It brings significant benefits in terms of efficiency and cost savings. On the other hand, fully implementing automation is challenging, and in most cases, it is not ideal.

By combining human and machine intelligence, human-in-the-loop automation can address the challenges associated with end-to-end automation without making entire processes manual. In this article, we’ll explore human-in-the loop automation, its benefits, use cases, and how you can implement it in your organization.

What is human-in-the-loop automation?

Human-in-the-loop (HITL) automation, also called human-in-the-middle automation, refers to automated systems that incorporate human decision-making when needed.

What are the advantages of HITL automation?

End-to-end process automation without human involvement is appealing because it is much simpler than systems that require human input. Emerging technologies such as intelligent automation have started to enable fully automated processes to some extent.

On the other hand, in practice there are many edge cases in the business workflows that require human intelligence. Reality is often complicated, no matter how well you design a fully automated system with all possible outcomes. So, there are limits to the number of tasks that you can fully automate.

Human-in-the-loop automation allows human workers to interact with automated systems and change the direction of the automated process. This enables:

  • Higher accuracy: AI-based intelligent automation can be more accurate than rule-based automation, but AI models are never 100% accurate. Humans, for instance, are more accurate at recognizing patterns in small data sets and combining human and artificial intelligence can lead to highly accurate automation systems.
  • Feedback mechanism: Humans can contribute their expertise to the automated process and the algorithms can improve themselves through this feedback.
  • Edge case handling: When a bot encounters an edge case, it can request human input and continue the process with the new information.

What are some use cases for human-in-the-loop automation?

Customer service

Intelligent bots with conversational AI capabilities can communicate with customers and answer their questions without human involvement. However, since natural languages are quite complex and irregular, not all aspects of human communication can be included in the data. For this reason, chatbots can fail and affect your company’s public image.

HITL automation allows bots to automate repetitive customer service tasks and prompt a human customer service rep when they can’t proceed. This saves your company invaluable time and ensures customer satisfaction through fewer errors.

Invoice processing

Technologies such as optical character recognition (OCR) and intelligent document processing (IDP) have enabled invoice capture solutions that can:

  • Automatically capture information from paper-based invoices,
  • Cross-check invoices against errors and other documents such as purchase orders,
  • Pass invoice-related data to other systems.

These solutions can increase the level of invoice automation from 15% to 80%. HITL automation can further increase the level of automation up to ~100% by sending poor quality invoice data to human workers for review and verification before continuing the process.

Read our article on invoice processing automation to learn more about the topic. 


HITL automation can improve incident management processes. Human IT professionals can review and decide on the available options and runbooks can learn from these decisions to recommend more accurate and effective actions for future incidents.

Read our article on DevOps Automation to learn more about the topic. 

How to implement HITL automation?

HITL automation must incorporate human input where humans can add the most value to the automated process. Requiring human intelligence at every step is only a few steps further than a fully manual workflow and is not the goal of HITL automation. Here are some cases where humans can be included in the automated workflow:

  • Human triggers: Human workers start the automated workflow and trigger further actions when bots require human input.
  • Review and verification: Bots can ask human workers to review and verify actions when the machine’s confidence is below a certain threshold. This helps reduce errors.
  • Improvement through feedback: Humans can intervene when they see an opportunity to improve the process. For instance, a human customer service rep can offer a non-standard benefit to a frustrated customer. Bots can ask humans if they should offer such benefits in the future for similar correspondences.

If you have other questions about how to implement HITL automation in your organization, we can help:

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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst

Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.

Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.

He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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