New Zealand Police has recruited an unusual new officer to the force: an AI cop called Ella.
Ella is a life-like virtual assistant, who uses real-time animation to emulate face-to-face interaction in an empathetic way.
Her first day of work will be next Monday, when she’ll be stationed in the lobby of the force’s national headquarters in Wellington. Her chief duties there will be welcoming visitors to the building, telling staff that they’ve arrived, and directing them to collect their passes. She can also talk to visitors about certain issues, such as the force’s non-emergency number and police vetting procedures.
After three months on the job, Ella’s future on the force will be evaluated.
“Her capabilities are basic at this stage as she is a proof of concept, but we see some real benefits of digital person technology if we can equip the AI with more knowledge and capabilities, and it can learn from more interactions,” said New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush.
Ella won’t be patroling the mean streets of Wellington just yet, and neither will she will be replacing human officers. But Commissioner Bush believes that if she does a good job, she could be handed a range of new responsibilities in the future.
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Published February 12, 2020 — 15:59 UTC