Ukraine Announces New AI-Based Spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry

Last week, Ukraine unveiled Victoria Shi, an AI-based spokesperson for the country’s foreign ministry. She will be making official statements for this ministry. The ministry bragged that it was the “first in the world” an AI spokesperson would read human-made statements on behalf of the foreign ministry.

In a presentation that was uploaded to social media, the AI spokesperson described herself as a “digital person” named Victoria Shi. She was clad in a dark suit. She moved her head and made hand gestures while speaking during that maiden presentation.

The press service of the foreign ministry reiterated that while Shi would read statements issued by the ministry, those statements will not be the work of AI. Rather, they will be originated and checked by real humans before being passed on to the AI spokesperson to read.

Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine, explained that the new spokesperson would only provide the visual aspects during the presentation of statements from his ministry. He bragged that what they had achieved was a “technological leap,” which no other diplomatic service around the world had attained.

Kuleba revealed that the main reason for creating the AI spokesperson was to save the resources and time of diplomats.

Shi was created by “Game Changers,” a team also credited for virtual-reality material connected to the ongoing war with Russia. Shi’s name was inspired by the phrase “shtuchniy intelekt,” which means artificial intelligence in Ukrainian. The term “victory” also contributed to the name given to the AI spokesperson.

The voice and appearance of Victoria Shi are modeled on an actual person, Rosalie Nombre. Nombre is a singer who previously took part in a Ukrainian iteration of the popular show called “The Bachelor.” She discusses on Instagram the stereotypes about Ukrainians who grew up speaking Russian and those who are mixed race. Her account has more than 54,000 followers. Nombre was born in Donetsk, a city on the east of the country that is now under Russian control.

Nombre volunteered to take part in the creation of the AI spokesperson, and the government emphasizes that she is different from Victoria Shi. Only Shi will read formal statements, and these will be accompanied by QR codes that take viewers to a ministry website that has text versions of statements; these codes are designed to distinguish the statements from any fakes circulated as official statements of the ministry.

Shi will start work at a time when the country recently suspended consular services for males abroad who fall within the age bracket of fighters. The government wants those individuals to return to the country to access consular services, and they could be drafted into the army if they return. Shi will comment on these matters.

Away from this more dramatic use-case for AI, many other companies such as Salesforce Inc. (NYSE: CRM) are providing innovative AI solutions geared at helping businesses automate many of the mundane tasks inherent in the course of running an enterprise.

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