In a week of Brics and bricks, Sandton City is no place to find peace and quiet. What with the clamour surrounding world leaders at the Brics conference and of Lego bricks being assembled at the launch of the brand's first store in South Africa, crowds are everywhere. Little wonder, then, that a symbol of a small revolution in banking goes almost unnoticed. At the entrance to the Nedbank branch upstairs from the Lego store, a robot stands in the entrance. Going by the name of Pepper, it is already a familiar face in fast-food restaurants and bank branches in Japan. Nedbank brought Pepper to South Africa in February, and spent the next four months testing, customising, demonstrating and showing it off. This month, it became the bank's digital ambassador, rotating between branches. Its repertoire is limited to a menu of options related to the bank's primary offerings, including borrowing, saving, insurance and investment. Oh, and it can also dance, to The Locomotion. The song is appro...

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