Barclays wants a robot to do your banking

Barclays says it is pursuing technology that could see users talk to a robot computer system to make money transfers, the bank's digital chief told CNBC.

An artificial intelligence system similar to Apple's iPhone personal assistant, Siri could be used so that people will be able to talk to a device and receive the information they ask for.

"We're very soon going to be entering a world though, where we may not have to be physically touching a device in order to execute transactions or to be able to engage with computers," Derek White, chief design and digital officer at Barclays, told CNBC in an interview at London Technology Week.

White gave the example of Amazon's Echo, a device that users can talk to in order to carry out actions such as playing or song, or returning information about the weather.

Barclays bank
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

When asked whether there would be a new app or device from Barclays, White said this is technology that we "are actively pursuing".

Several U.S. technology giants have been working to improve the capabilities of their artificial intelligence systems. At its developers conference earlier this month, Apple showed off an improved Siri which can suggest apps for you to open based on the time of day and your habits, for example. Google Now is the search giant's own system on Android phones, while Microsoft has been making a big push with its own personal assistant Cortana.

Barclays could potentially design apps that integrate with such systems allowing users to do banking by talking to their mobile devices.


Think like a start-up

Barclays has heavily promoted its push into the tech space, with a raft of mobile apps already launched.

White was responsible for the release of Barclays' Pingit in 2012 – an app that lets customers of any bank send money to each other via their mobile devices and even Twitter. White said that during the creation of the product, the team "worked very much like a start-up" and the attitude has rippled through to other businesses in the bank.

The Barclays digital head said the company has around 50 teams across different sections of the bank helping to make the firm agile in the tech space.

"It's not just in the consumer business but it has spread to the investment bank and to the core shapers of the intuition," White told CNBC.