Local council staff are about to become even more robotic and unresponsive than usual, thanks to Brent council launching a new holographic receptionist. She's called Shanice and will point you in the right direction if you need the toilet, apparently.
Shanice cost in the region of £12,000 to implement, which means she should work out cheaper in the long run than hiring an actual person to sit there greeting lost pensioners all day -- and can be reprogrammed with new tasks if needed. The downside is that real council employees won't be able to fantasise about getting off with her at the Christmas party, so staff morale is bound to drop as a result.
Opposing Lib Dem councillors claim Shanice is a "startlingly expensive" way of improving signage inside the council offices, but Brent council leaders claim it/she is a great way of saving money, and seem to hope she'll become a tourist attraction, with leader member James Denselow saying: "I hope people come down and visit her the next time they’re in the Civic Centre, she looks great and she’s always very friendly." [Twitter via Standard]