HDFC Bank’s robot Ira, not to replace human jobs; but bank refuses to share details on tasks it would do

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Mumbai | Updated: January 9, 2017 7:23:42 PM

The private lender HDFC Bank today launched what it claimed to be the first `humanoid' in the domestic banking space, and also said it is looking to partner with start-ups having technological solutions for rural operations.

HDFC’s head of digital banking Nitin Chugh refused to share more details on the tasks the robot would carry out. He only said it will not replace jobs done by humans. (Reuters)

The private lender HDFC Bank today launched what it claimed to be the first `humanoid’ in the domestic banking space, and also said it is looking to partner with start-ups having technological solutions for rural operations.The bank showcased human-sized robot Ira, developed in association with Kochi-based Asimov Robotics, and said it will be deployed at a city branch within a fortnight.

HDFC’s head of digital banking Nitin Chugh refused to share more details on the tasks the robot would carry out. He only said it will not replace jobs done by humans.

An August 2016 media report had said the robot will perform a limited role and act largely as a receptionist, though the humanoid can also move around in the branch. Chugh claimed this is the first `humanoid’ in the domestic banking space.

City Union Bank last year introduced robot `Lakshmi’, which uses artificial intelligence to handle 125 topics.

HDFC Bank today also launched the second edition of a summit which offers a platform for start-ups to showcase their innovations aimed at helping the bank.

Chugh said the bank is specifically looking for solutions that can be used for rural operations, as a large part of its customer base is there.

The bank is also looking at deploying artificial intelligence tools for serving the rural areas, he said.

Internet of Things, virtual reality and blockchain technologies are other areas where the bank will be looking for solutions from the participating start-ups, he said.

At the first edition of the summit, the bank had received 100 entries of which 35 start-ups presented ideas and five got selected to work with the bank.

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