‘Avatars’ to replace some humans at NYC area airports

May 23, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

A human customer service representative at LGA airport next to a newly unveiled customer service 'avatar' (credit: Jim O'Grady/WNYC)

As if TSA groping in airports wasn’t enough, now we’re going to be subjected to some kind of creepy composite of Princess Leia from Star Wars and the advertising scene in Minority Report.

“I can be just about anything you want me to be,” over-enthuses the simulated “customer service representative,” five of which are intended for installation in LaGuardia, JFK. and Liberty Newark airports in early July, according to Time Techland and other sources.

The “avatar” — actually, a simple looped video recording — will be projected onto a life-sized flat screen in the shape of a woman. She will dispense flight information and tips about services like shuttle bus and taxi pick-ups when a customer approaches.

Weirdly, she will not be interactive, which is at least consistent with my experience with airport personnel.

What’s next? Groping by robots? Hmm, probably preferable.