eNewsletter August 2017/1
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Swedish banks embrace artificial intelligence as a cure to closures

Aida is the perfect employee: always courteous, always learning and, as she says, “always at work, 24/7, 365 days a year.

” Aida, of course, is not a person but a virtual customer-service representative that SEB AB, one of Sweden’s biggest banks, is rolling out. After blazing a trail in online and digital banking, Sweden’s financial industry is now emerging as a pioneer in the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Besides Aida at SEB, there’s Nova, a chatbot of Nordea Bank. Swedbank is adding to the skills of its virtual assistant, Nina.
All three are designed to sound like women, based on research suggesting customers feel more comfortable with female voices. Swedish banks have already seen their customer satisfaction scores drop to a 20-year low after shutting branches and pushing people onto online services. But AI might be part of the cure as applications such as chatbots hold the promise of filling in service gaps, given the right data and programming.

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