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See-through service courtesy of Brent Council

Posted at 10:00 am, August 27, 2013 in News, Technology
Shanice Brent

Every Londoner who has ever visited a supermarket (so that’s all of us, apart from the Queen) will have experienced robotic customer service at times. It’s a drag. But what about holographic customer service?

Brent Council, as part of its new £90 million civic centre, has recently employed a new receptionist. Shanice, a curly-haired, well-presented young lady, who’ll be at her desk at from Monday. She looks like a person. She sounds like a person. But she’s in fact a £12,000 hologram, installed by the council as, er, a cost-saving measure.

James Denselow of the council said: “I hope people come down and visit her the next time they’re in the Civic Centre, she looks great and she’s always very friendly.” The council has defended the amount paid for Shanice by arguing that a virtual receptionist will actually prove cheaper than the £17,000 they’d have to pay a real, flesh-and-blood human. And, presumably, she won’t come to work hungover and steal stationery. Flo Wales Bonner

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