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London council building replaces receptionist with hologram

Aug. 19, 2013 at 4:56 PM

LONDON, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Officials in a London council district said a computerized hologram will replace human receptionists at the front desk of the council building.

The Brent council in northwest London said the virtual assistant, dubbed Shanice, will be projected to make it appear as if she is sitting behind a desk at the town hall and she will be programmed to answer a limited number of questions and "help point people in the right direction," The Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

The council said the nearly $19,000 hologram still costs less than employing a human receptionist.

"This is the sort of space age technology you hear about but never really expect to see, especially in council buildings," said James Denselow, the Brent council's head of customers and citizens. "The best thing is it's going to save us lots of money, without compromising our service. Nowadays we're constantly having to look at innovative ways to cut costs and they don't come more cutting edge than Shanice."

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