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'Hologram-like' assistants coming to New York airports in July

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Virtual customer representatives, described as "hologram-like avatars" by New York's 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.

port authority avatar
port authority avatar

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.