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Banks Joining In: Artificial Intelligence

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The scope of technology has widened over the past ten years, to ease physical human effort as much as possible. Machines replaced human labour and services has changed the interface of being online. Even the IT industry of the country is laying off employees in huge numbers due to the automation that has come in their operations. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a blessing and a curse in many different ways. Currently, it is riding high in the banking sector of the country. A lot of banks are introducing humanoid robots to answer customer queries in their branches in metro cities, like Bengaluru, New Delhi and Mumbai.

At first, these robots started out to answer frequently asked queries online, through multiple channels of the bank. Through HDFC’s chatbot EVA, customers can get information on its products and services instantaneously. Not only that, the robot itself becomes smarter as it learns through its customer interactions. This was the first artificial intelligence based device used by banks in India, as reported by the Economic Times. But recently, a more elevated level of AI was displayed in Canara Bank’s robot, Mitra. It moves around in the branch, answering queries of customers in Kannada. This is crucial because main branches or head offices of banks usually have several departments and it can be confusing for customers. Many banks are adopting AI-based robots to save the effort of the staff and facilitate easier banking for their customers.

According to Accenture’s Technology Vision 2017 report, the momentum of AI is very fast, although some companies have shown reservations towards it. 85% of the executives responding to their survey say that investment in AI is a must. In the past 3 years in search technology as well, voice searches in Bing and Google were 25% and 10% higher, respectively. Similarly, the report claims that AI is key for employee engagement and operational efficiency, as well as revenue growth. It is becoming the digital brand for enterprise and a critical channel for customer satisfaction and loyalty.

At some level, human knowledge and academic expertise are still required in the working of a company. Automation has started seeping in from the base and will gradually make its way up in the next 5 years. The Accenture report claims that banks will become completely automated in answering customer queries from any department within 3 years. The concern is whether or not the customers will be able to keep pace. Banks set up bases in the rural areas as well as the urban. The customer profiles, however, differ in various respects. Hopefully, the benefits of AI are not at the expense of the customers.

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Regards,
The CSR Journal Team

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