UK-based bank NatWest has started testing of a ‘digital human’, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) technology, to use it in resolving basic banking queries of customers in future.

Last year, the bank deployed a text-based chatbot called ‘Cora’ that assisted the customers with the bank’s online help pages.

Capable of answering 200 basic banking queries, Cora now has nearly 100,000 conversations a month.

The new prototype digital human has been built utilising the advances in neuroscience, psychology, computing power and artificial intelligence.

Using audio and visual sensors available in computers and smart phones, the digital human can engage in a two-way verbal conversation answering basic customer queries.

NatWest Innovation director Kevin Hanley said: “We’re really excited about this technology because we think it could create another way for our customers to bank with us on top of the usual services we offer and be used to help answer questions round the clock, whilst cutting queuing times for simple questions.

“The technology has real potential for the future and we’re also looking at how we can use it to help train our staff on certain subject matters.”

The new Cora digital human is developed using technology provided by New Zealand-based firm Soul Machines.

NatWest is planning to deploy the technology, if it successfully completes the testing phase.

The deployment of this digital human is expected to reduce pressure on human advisers, who will answer complicated queries.

The customers will also be able to interact with the digital human outside normal working hours and days.