FirstBank Nigeria Launches Humanoid Robots Amid Digital Customer Interaction Push

By Ayang Macdonald

Humanoid robots with artificial intelligence to facilitate interactions and account openings with First Bank Nigeria customers have gone operational in two of the bank’s Digital Experience Center branches.

The banking institution said the robots, which are equipped with video banking capabilities, will perform the role of “friendly branch staff” and can respond to a number of customer queries related to deposits, withdrawals, use of bank cards, and complaints management, according to Premium Times.

Customers can also open accounts through the robot, Vanguard reports, which requires checking the customer’s biometric-based Bank Verification Number.

The first robot was installed at the Adetokunbo Ademola VI Lagos Digital Experience Center branch of the bank in June, while the second was unveiled recently at the bank’s branch of the University of Ibadan.

The bank’s CEO Adesola Adeduntan claims the AI-powered robots are the first of its kind in the industry in Nigeria. He noted that adding the AI tool “to our state-of-the-art Digital Experience Centre represents a purposeful stride towards transforming the banking landscape in the country and further showcases the priority we give to innovation within the bank.”

At the launch of the Ibadan university branch facility, Adeduntan underlined the importance of the novelty and assured staff that the technology will help fight fraud and other vices in the banking sector, rather than take their jobs.

The official said with the robots, customers can walk into a bank branch and carry out a transaction from start to finish without needing the intervention of a human person, in part, This Day reports, due to the use of biometrics.

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In the meantime, Leadership reports that a group of students from the Federal Government Girls College in Sagamu, Ogun State, has built a humanoid robot as part of a push by college authorities to encourage young girls with interest in AI, robotics, machine learning and related fields.

Named Okikiola-Sagamu (Kiki-Saggy), the robot was recently presented to the Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education, Andrew David Adejo, who congratulated the team of innovators on their ingenuity.

The robot is designed to walk a maximum distance of 10 kilometres per hour and can also perform some conversational tasks.

Humanoid robots have been developed over the years for different purposes including banking, entertainment, and smart-city projects.

Source: Biometrics Update

Ayang Macdonald is a freelance journalist based in Yaounde, Cameroon. He boasts 10 years of professional experience in journalism in which he has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Buea in South western Cameroon. He is a versatile reporter with interest in ICTs, innovation, digital entrepreneurship, defense and military, politics, economy, health and environment, humanitarian issues and sports.

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