Brazil banks start using artificial intelligence

Voice technology facilitates customer relationship and secure online

Published in 27/06/2016 - 09:50 By Wellton Máximo reports from Agência Brasil - Brasília


Within 60 days, new AI-based features will be available to higher-end customers at the Private and Estilo Digital services of Brazil's state-owned bank Banco do Brasil.Elza Fiuza/Agência Brasil

Learning PIN numbers and access codes is close to becoming a thing of the past in Brazil's banking services. Soon, customers will simply talk to their smartphones or computers to view their account balance and statements, take out loans, or restructure debts securely. And this is all thanks to artificial intelligence, which is beginning to be applied by Brazil's banking institutions in their customer relationships.

Within 60 days, new AI-based features will be available to higher-end customers at the Private and Estilo Digital services of Brazil's state-owned bank Banco do Brasil. Through a mobile application, account holders will be able to use an assistant for secure transactions on their smartphones. And since the account holder's voice biometrics will be stored with the system, there will be no fraud risks. Bradesco, a private bank in Brazil, is testing a similar technology to allow its customers to talk to the computers. There are no roll-out dates yet.

Known as cognitive computing, this technology is based on the computers' ability to handle and match large data volumes. With voice recognition, for example, the device learns the user's voice to decode patterns, identify preferences and usage, and interpret instructions. In Brazil, the new technology is being developed based on a US-provided tool called Watson.

“Cognitive computing is groundbreaking. Computers are able to read, interpret, and understand [speech] to respond. We are developing a natural language that will allow people to talk to machines,” says Banco do Brasil Technology Vice-President Geraldo Dezena.

In addition to making service faster, he explained, the use of artificial intelligence in the banking industry also significantly improves the banks' relationships with their customers. “Bank staff will no longer need to help customers around with ATMs, applications, or computers. Even the untrained user will be able to talk to the machine. Cognitive computing makes the most of the customers' time and improves the banks' operational efficiency,” he said.

In addition to the smartphone voice assistant, Banco do Brasil is planning to extend cognitive computing to computer-based banking. An automated online assistant will tell the customer if there are updates available for their device, or if a security module for the bank website is required, and guide the user through setup using remote assistance.

The bank is even planning to use artificial intelligence to help customers restructure their debts. Cognitive computing will also be used by the bank employees, who will be able to talk to the devices to answer questions, instead of referring to manuals. The two innovations are being tested.

For Geraldo Dezena, cognitive computing has the potential to be a huge breakthrough not only for the banking industry, but for any application that handles large data volumes. “In the United States, medical doctors are using this technology to identify diseases and conditions. Instead of looking up in their books, they enter the symptoms on the machine and have a diagnosis instantly,” he said.

Translated by Mayra Borges

Fonte: Brazil banks start using artificial intelligence

Edition: Carolina Pimentel / Augusto Queiroz

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