The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan's biggest bank, is reportedly the first to have robots that augment existing services after employing a robot called Nao in its flagship branch near Tokyo station.
Aldebaran Robotics' Nao, a 23-inch bipedal android that costs around $8,000 (£5,300), is designed to answer various inquiries such as how to open a bank account and what to do if a customer loses their cash card.
Nao can also speak more than one language. Apart from Japanese, it knows English, Chinese, among a few others. It can also read emotions.
The robot is currently placed at the bank’s reception and will be rolled out full-time by the end of the month.
Nao talks in chirpy, expressive tones. However, the robot’s voice recognition is still a little glitchy - he doesn’t easily pick up the questions just yet and is not well-versed in Chinese and English apart from simple conversations. Despite this, Nao is expected to get better with future server updates
In the absence of its voice recognition glitches, such technology can be helpful to aid foreign banking customers. However, as of this time, despite Nao being present at UFJ banks, it will not replace tellers (not yet anyway) according to a bank representative.
It will be interesting to see if helper robots such as this pick up at any point and, if they do, it surely won't take long for UK branches to get in on the act.
Image Credit: TheVerge