Mortgages  

Amelia flies in the face of other robo-advisers

In addition, the average speed of answer reduced from 55 seconds to two seconds.

Gartner also predicts that by 2017, managed services offerings using cognitive platforms such as Amelia will drive a 60 per cent reduction in the cost of services.

Mr Dube said: “In this day and age, people are looking for instant response to queries. If this can be achieved through an AI system then I do not think that many people would object. The mortgage industry is looking more at automated digital solutions to further streamline the process of the preliminary validation of loans.”

As artificial intelligence evolves and becomes more sophisticated, the distinction between man and machine is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish.

Just last year, a computer programme called Eugene Goostman became the first artificial intelligence to pass a test which investigates whether people can detect if they are talking to machines or humans by successfully posing as a 13-year-old boy.

The latest iteration of Amelia, which was unveiled in October, features new updates bringing Amelia closer to achieving near human cognitive capabilities, according to Mr Dube.

The system’s physical appearance and expressiveness have been transformed to create a more human-like avatar capable of deepening customer engagement.

Amelia, modelled on the human brain, can process information like a flesh-and-blood individual rather than simply mimicking human thought processes, according to Mr Dube, who said the system was equipped to sense human emotions and respond appropriately.

Mr Dube unveiled plans to go a step further by giving Amelia a physical ‘body’ by embedding its ‘brain’ into a robot.

He said: “Man needs to be able to communicate with somebody who understands, and is able to respond to his emotions – we have been exposed to dysfunctional automated AI for too long.”

He added: “Through the leverage of cognitive technology, we can create an efficient planet. We only use 10 per cent of our brain, which is a colossal waste. Technology can be a faithful friend to man and can help to create a more efficient ecosystem in business and answer environmental issues.”

The threat that machines pose to mankind is a concept explored by dystopian novelists and Hollywood film directors.

To root out ‘rogue learning’, every new piece of information that the system absorbs is subject to an overnight control process, enabling programmers to cherry pick what it should learn.

For Ray Tammam, IFA and mortgage broker at Manchester-based Fairstone Financial Management, the real threat posed by AI is to human employment.

He said: “Providers are faced with a moral dilemma – do they implement an AI system to save on costs, or should they keep people in jobs?