Ukraine unveils AI-generated foreign ministry spokesperson

Kyiv, Ukraine — Ukraine has an AI-generated spokesperson called Victoria who will make official statements on behalf of its foreign ministry.

The ministry said on Wednesday that it would “for the first time in history” use a digital spokesperson to read its statements, which will still be written by humans.

Dressed in a dark suit, the spokesperson introduced herself as Victoria Shi, a “digital person,” in a presentation posted on social media.

The figure gesticulates with her hands and moves her head as she speaks.

The foreign ministry’s press service told AFP that the statements given by Shi would not be generated by AI but “written and verified by real people.”

“It’s only the visual part that the AI helps us to generate,” it said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the new spokesperson was a “technological leap that no diplomatic service in the world has yet made.”

The main reason for creating her was “saving time and resources” for diplomats, he said.

Shi’s creators are a team called The Game Changers who have also made virtual reality content related to the war in Ukraine.

The spokesperson’s name is based on the word victory and the Ukrainian for artificial intelligence: shtuchniy intelekt.

Shi’s appearance and voice are modeled on a real person: Rosalie Nombre, a singer and former contestant on Ukraine’s version of The Bachelor reality show.

Nombre was born in the now Russian-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

She has 54,000 followers on her Instagram account, which she uses to discuss stereotypes about mixed-race Ukrainians and those who grew up as Russian speakers.

The ministry said that Nombre took part free of charge.

It stressed that Shi and Nombre “are two different people” and that only the AI figure gives official statements.

To avoid fakes, these will be accompanied by a QR code linking them to text versions on the ministry’s website.

Shi will comment on consular services, currently a controversial topic.

Ukraine last week suspended such services for men of fighting age living abroad, making it necessary for them to return to their country for administrative procedures and potentially face the draft. 

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