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Bank of America’s AI Robot Learns 60,000 Ways to Talk About the Coronavirus

  • Erica program attracts millions of new users during pandemic
  • Customers focus on monthly charges, credit scores, reminders
Photographer: Daniel Tepper/Bloomberg

When it came to Covid-19, Bank of America Corp.’s virtual assistant Erica had a steep learning curve.

The artificial-intelligence program has come to recognize 60,000 coronavirus-related terms as customers seek to manage their cash flow, increase savings and watch their spending during the pandemic. David Tyrie, head of digital banking, sat down with a team in March to teach the app a couple hundred virus-related words and phrases. Since then, use of Erica on Bank of America’s mobile app and website has surged to a record.