Want to know your account balance, interest rates on home loans? Lakshmi can answer it all. Are you wondering, who is this Lakshmi? To your surprise it is India’s first banking robot.
Adorable, interactive and super fast with data, Lakshmi was launched by City Union Bank, in Chennai. The artificial intelligence powered robot will be the first on-site bank helper. This two-foot tall robot is appointed as customer care executive. Through this initiative, City Union Bank will have the distinction of being the first private sector bank in India to deploy a robot with artificial intelligence to answer generic banking-related questions of customers.
Lakshmi, named after Goddess of wealth took more than six months to develop and can answer intelligently on more than 125 subjects. It has been imported from France and was customised in Coimbatore. It is based on the IBM Watson artificial intelligence engine.
Lakshmi, currently speaks in English, turns around and engages in a very life-like manner in conversations that is not formal, but more relaxed and casual. In the next few months, City Union will aim at programming it to greet customers in Tamil.
And what if a question puzzles Lakshmi? The robot then asks the customer to get in touch with the branch manager. This is how the bank will keep a record of all the questions the robot failed to answer and accordingly make technical improvements.
Sensitive financial information like account details are displayed discreetly on the robot’s screen and not voiced. It can give real time updates of foreign exchange movement, current interest rates at banks for different asset classes like personal, educational, two-wheeler and home loans, possible charges on withdrawals or deposits. It is expected that in future it might be able to do more than that. The robot is also capable of learning and improvising by interacting more with the customers. Later, it will be integrated with the Core Banking System to enable it to do multi-tasking such as providing account details and ordering cheque books.
Currently, the bank has equipped only one version of Lakshmi. If successful and proves a hit with customers, 25-30 robots will be availed at key branches by March 2017. The humanoid has been developed at an estimate cost of `7-8 lakhs and can do the work of three to four persons.
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