AI is today being applied to business systems like claims and supply chains that, by their very nature, are unbounded. It is impossible to write down all the rules an AI has to follow when adjudicating an insurance claim or managing the supply chain, even for something as simple as bubblegum. The only way to train an AI to manage one of these is to feed it massive amounts of data on all the myriad processes and companies that make up an insurance claim or a simple supply chain. We then hope the AI can do the job—not just efficiently, but also ethically.

But it’s impossible to know in advance that it will be able to do so. In fact, it can take a year or more to ascertain this. In addition, new regulations, variations in market demand and new technologies ensure rules associated with business systems are continually changing, thus keeping these systems unbounded.

Clearly, then, it’s not necessarily true that the successes of AI based on bounded systems can be generalized to unbounded ones. We are just learning how to incorporate AI models into parts of unbounded systems.