Monday, 19 August 2013

Hologram to replace council receptionist

I wonder if visitors will notice the difference?

"A hologram will replace a human receptionist to greet visitors to a London town hall. Brent council spent £12,000 on a "virtual assistant" of the type more usually used at airports to warn passengers not to carry liquids and stand in the right queue. 'Shanice' will appear to sit behind a desk but actually be projected on to a screen at the £90 million civic centre to 'help point people in the right direction'. The council said it was cheaper to have a virtual employee, which can be reprogrammed, but libraries campaigners called it 'incredibly wasteful' and opposition councillors questioned value for money when the council was cutting jobs. The hologram - played by actress Shanice Stewart-Jones - is only programmed to answer a limited number of questions."

Just like the real thing, then. I can easily imagine the answers that "Shanice" will come out with -

This is the wrong building
Planning department? I didn't know we had one
We no longer deal with consumer protection - phone this number
He doesn't work here any more
They're open from 2 to 4, Thursdays only
You have to make an appointment to make an appointment
I can't tell you because of the Data Protection Act
There's a fine for putting your bin out on the wrong day
We welcome postal voting by air mail
Try phoning the police instead
I don't speak English
Your son has a choice of one school to go to
If you don't pay your council tax you will be arrested
Your heroin dealing neighbour has special needs
Refugees go to the top of the housing queue
That's a racist thing to say
I don't know

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