ASB Bank, operating in New Zealand, is set to introduce a new artificial intelligence (AI) based digital assistant ‘Josie’.

Developed in partnership with tech company FaceMe, this new human-like interface will assist small-to-medium (SME) NZ business owners in setting up their businesses.

The bank has planned to introduce it later this year following the completion of its apprenticeship.

ASB Retail Banking executive general manager Russell Jones stated that Josie has been created to facilitate its business in New Zealand.

He said: “We’re excited to develop this technology, but more importantly we’re eager to see what Josie will help our customers achieve.

“Globally, New Zealanders are known for innovation and entrepreneurship: we have brilliant ideas but sometimes lack the knowledge for profitable execution. This is where Josie will help.”

In the apprenticeship, SME business owners, who are not ASB customers, can interact with Josie to strengthen her understanding of various customer requirements as well as enable it to provide customised assistance to the customers

FaceMe CEO and founder Danny Tomsett said: “Much like the human mind, Josie’s knowledge will develop with information through human interactions over time.

“As AI is still developing there are some misconceptions surrounding its impact on people. One of the biggest misconceptions about AI is that it’s designed to ‘replace humans’.

“Great AI should be designed to enhance what humans do and how they operate. ASB understands this, and they’re leveraging the technology as a tool to empower their staff and create great outcomes for SME owners.”

Earlier, ASB introduced ‘Plus for ASB’, a free application that will provide all business information to the SME businesses at one place.