U.K. bank RBS tests ‘digital human’ teller to help customers


A subsidiary of British banking ogre Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is running a pilot program using an assumed intelligence (AI) powered “digital human” to help customers with central banking questions.

The lifelike, virtual bank teller named “Cora” can rejoinder up to 200 banking queries for NatWest customers in two-way conversations on a computer cover, tablet or mobile phone.

The bank has been using Cora since 2017 and she’s had helter-skelter 100,000 conversations a month, the bank said on Wednesday.

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“Cora, the digital human is able to answer basic verbal questions similar kind ‘How do I login to online banking?’ ‘How do I apply for a mortgage?’ and ‘What do I do if I conquered my card?'” said NatWest in a news release.

Cora’s human-like demeanour includes ear piercings and facial expressions.

“Like humans, it is trained when distributing with new subject matter and when she makes mistakes she learns, so that to the ground time the interactions become more and more accurate,” said NatWest.

NatWest, which is develop into the biggest retail lenders in the U.K., said it would only “deploy the technology” if it successfully unqualifies the advanced testing stage. 

Job cuts

News of the AI testing comes after RBS signaled in December that it would close of a quarter of its branches, including NatWest vents, adding to the thousands of job cuts announced in the past year as it tries to degrade costs.

“[Cora] could serve as an additional way for customers to get help, on top of the old branch, telephone and online services and in the long run could answer hundreds of unimaginative banking questions,” the bank said.

The move is the latest within the broader banking perseverance, which is trying to adapt to changing consumer behaviours with inciting technologies such as robo-advisers and industry disrupters like financial technology parties.

Changing industry

In November, John Cryan, CEO of German banking titan Deutsche Bank said chatbots and similar AI technologies could renew half of the company’s nearly 100,000 employees.

In Canada, all of the country’s big five banks are scorning or testing chatbots for banking services.

Meanwhile, NatWest says brand-new research has suggested that customers that have avoided manipulating digital services in the past may be more inclined to interact with digital sensitives like Cora.

“It could help blind and partially sighted blokes who are unable to engage with visual content,” it said.

NatWest maestro of innovation Kevin Hanley added that the bank is also looking at how it can use the technology to serve train staff members.

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