Bank of America is taking a futuristic approach to training its new employees by incorporating virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) into its training regime. According to Bloomberg, the bank’s 2,000 new hires undergo a week-long training program that includes using VR headsets to practice responding to simulated situations. These scenarios range from everyday customer interactions to more extreme situations like full-blown bank robberies. The VR modules also offer opportunities for relaxation, allowing newcomers to ride a unicorn or relax on an island. This innovative training approach aims to provide new employees with realistic experiences that are “hard to teach traditionally.”
The VR training is not the only technology being utilized by Bank of America. AI is also deployed in the training process, where new hires practice conversing with AI bots acting as customers. These bots help guide the conversation and provide feedback. Currently, over 200,000 global Bank of America staff members have had access to the virtual training. In addition, the bank’s call centers use an AI coaching bot to assist with customer conversations, and managers have the option to delegate further staff training to the bots. Mike Wynn, the innovation and design executive of Bank of America’s Academy, explains that VR creates anxiety and nervousness, making it an effective tool for training.
The bank is also considering using its metaverse for job fairs to attract a younger audience to pursue careers in banking. By allowing potential candidates to virtually experience the day-to-day activities of a bank associate, Bank of America hopes to showcase the various opportunities and excitement that can be found in the industry.
In other news, it appears that former United States president Donald Trump’s nonfungible token (NFT) licensing business prefers to hold its funds on Ethereum rather than in a traditional bank account. Trump’s updated disclosures filed with the Office of Government Ethics reveal that his NFT licensing firm, CIC Digital, has a bank account balance of less than $1,000, while its Ethereum wallet holds between $250,000 and $500,000. In a previous disclosure, Trump stated that he earned between $500,000 and $1 million from his NFT licensing deals. The reason for the shift from a bank account to Ethereum for holding funds is unclear, but it highlights the growing prominence of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
Meanwhile, German tech conglomerate Siemens has announced plans to build a $560,000 new tech campus in Germany. Interestingly, the campus will first be created digitally in the metaverse before its construction in the real world. Siemens aims to make the campus a hub for the industrial metaverse, a digital recreation of locations used for troubleshooting and analytics. By simulating and optimizing the layout beforehand, Siemens can ensure an efficient and effective design for its physical campus.
Lastly, sports shoe company Puma, NFT company Legitimate, and rapper Jay-Z’s entertainment agency Roc Nation have collaborated to release a sneaker collection integrated with NFTs. The collection, named “The Evolution of the Mixtape,” features three sneaker models and incorporates NFC chips in the tongue of the left shoe. These chips can be tapped with a phone to grant access to an exclusive portal with unreleased music, video content, and a documentary. Phygital streetwear, which combines physical products with digital components, has become increasingly popular in recent months.
As these stories highlight, various industries are embracing technology to enhance their operations and offerings. From VR and AI training programs in banking to the utilization of blockchain technology in NFT businesses, these advancements are transforming the way we work and interact with the world around us.