You could get help setting off on your vacation from an unusual source this summer, courtesy of a new initiative announced by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Virtual customer representatives, described as "hologram-like avatars" by the Port Authority, will be tested in JFK's Terminal 5, LaGuardia's Central Terminal Building, and Newark Liberty's Terminal B from early July until the end of the year.
In a video recorded by WNYC, an avatar is shown talking up her virtues — she never takes a break, doesn't charge overtime, and "hardly ever" takes sick leave. Her human counterparts probably shouldn't be worried just yet, though, as the avatars are non-interactive and reportedly cost $250,000 each.
The Port Authority is paying about $180,000 for a six month lease, according to the AP. We're unsure this represents good value for what amounts to a woman-shaped flatscreen TV, but perhaps virtual humans are the hot item for 2012 following Coachella's ghostly Tupac hologram.