With AI becoming integral to nearly every industry, it's no surprise that banking is increasingly automated. Chatbots like BankBot and Nao are slowly taking us one step further than digital banking, but there are still privacy risks that come with feeding both banks and their bots more information.
BankBot is an app prototype designed by the Polish digital design and communication agency K2. BankBot itself is a robotic bank teller, financial advisor, and personal assistant all in one. The automated sidekick provides a conversational text-based interface, but users can also use their voices instead of typing.
"It understands natural language, so you can ask BankBot to transfer money, open a new account, cancel a credit card, et cetera," Maciek Lipiec, K2's user experience director told Motherboard.
BankBot has the user's transaction history readily available. Users tell BankBot the amount to send and the recipient's name to pay bills or transfer money. Then it functions via artificial intelligence—using natural language processing and a growing knowledge base. "This is important not only for financial institutions, but for e-commerce as well," the company wrote on its website.
BankBot also provides financial advice. It reminds users of when to pay off their credit cards, when to do their taxes, or suggests better options for interest or investments. "What is really important for us is that BankBot is proactive, unlike Siri, for example," Lipiec said. "It reminds users of necessary information on its own initiative.
BankBot is not the only robotic bank teller out there. For instance, the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ introduced a human-like robotic bank teller into its branches last year. Nao, the robot, could answer customers' questions about banking services. Unlike BankBot, Nao exists in real life, around 23 inches tall, as opposed to within a digital platform.
Other banks in the United Kingdom are also beginning to implement robotic tellers that mimic empathy and otherwise help the bank cut costs on paying human workers. The robot Luvo, for instance, at the Royal Bank of Scotland, is meant to be a human-like AI that answers questions online, such as queries about lost credit cards or pin numbers.
However, with all this automation in your personal finances, security issues may come up when robots have so much information about individuals' accounts and other personal information. There have been multiple reports of bank hackers just in the past year, from Ecuador to Bangladesh. And robots and AI systems are hardly immune to security breaches.
For now, using bank bots for financial advice still seems like a good deal—as long as we don't teach them too much.
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