An investment bank has digitally “cloned” one of its top staff members, allowing clients to get financial advice without the need to speak to a real-life banker.
The computer-generated image of Mr Kalt greets clients on screen and can talk customers through the bank’s latest research as well as answer queries. Another digital assistant called Fin is also available to carry out transactions.
The new service, called UBS Companion is driven by artificial intelligence and voice-recognition technology developed by IBM. Another company, FaceMe, animated and visualised the avatars. UBS hopes the new tech will increase efficiency and allow it to advise more customers.
But are bankers set to be the latest group to fall victim to the much heralded about “rise of the robots”?
No, says UBS. The bank says it aims to find the “best possible combination of human and digital touch”.
The clone will give clients quicker answers to some questions but the option to speak to a human being will always be available.
UBS started trials in June at its branch in Zurich where it is testing the new system on 100 clients but it won’t say how they have reacted so far.
At present, there are no plans to unleash an army of cloned bankers on the world.
“It is a project to explore new technology and find out how humans and machines can complement heightened levels of client experience in future,” UBS said.
“The aim is to explore how to create a new frictionless access to UBS’s expertise for our clients and to test the acceptance of digital assistants in a wealth management context.”