Ukraine Has an AI-Generated Diplomat

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry released an AI-generated persona or digital avatar as its spokeswoman named Victoria Shi.

We have our first official, government-sponsored AI avatar. And it’s strikingly realistic. One only wonders how will the side freaking out over realistic AI expressions will react to this. The spokeswoman is named Victoria Shi. It’s a “digital person” according to the Ukrainian Ministry. Might sound like a cheesy new development, but I’m telling you that it has a fixed spot in the history books for ages to come.

The statements being given by the digital person are created and reviewed by real humans. It’s just that the face delivering the news isn’t real. According to Ukraine, it’s a “technological leap that no diplomatic service in the world has yet made”. But seeing as how countries are yet to reach a cataclysmic point in time where populations are in triple digits, why do we need this?

The main reason was to save time and resources. There’s a team behind Shi called The Game Changers that previously worked on VR coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Interestingly, Shi is based on a real human being. It’s a Donetsk-born (one of the primary regions being contested by Russia) reality TV show actor and singer called Rosalie Nombre. Nombre didn’t charge anything for this, which should play well with her social media followers.

See Shi in action below:

The Kyiv Post did not shy away from saying that although the Ukraine government has digitized a lot over the last few years, “the ministry’s move to introduce AI technologies using deepfake might be one of its boldest moves yet.”

So, how do you make sure that nobody else makes their own digital person based on Shi or Nombre spreading misinformation? Each official broadcast and video is going to have a QR code linking to the direct text version of the announcement being uttered by Shi. No QR = not real. QR not taking you to an official Ukraine government website? Not the real Shi (is there a “real” Shi to begin with?).

The post on Barron’s says that “Shi will comment on consular services, currently a controversial topic.” Do they not want people to assign a real policymaker’s face with controversial announcements? More importantly, how will this play out in general? Can this creep people out, especially those who have had little exposure to deepfakes? Only time will tell.

By Abhimanyu

Unwrapping the fast-evolving AI popular culture.