The video: First Coachella brought Tupac back from the dead, and now, airports are also employing holograms of humans to dazzle (and assist) frazzled travelers. This summer, fliers dragging luggage through JFK and LaGuardia airports in New York City and Newark airport in New Jersey will be treated to "computerized, hologram-like avatars" working alongside busy human employees. (Watch a demo below.) The peppy, freakishly selfless, two-dimensional projection "smiles, answers questions, and can guide you to the nearest restroom or to your connecting flight," says The Associated Press. Each unit costs $250,000, but instead of making an outright purchase, The Port Authority of New York will spend $180,000 to rent five digi-helpers for a six-month period during the daunting summer travel season, when some tens of millions of people will pass through its three airports.
The reaction: This hologram is "more than just your average customer service representative," says Matthew Rosenbaum at ABC. "She's always ready with a smile, never needs a bathroom break or a shift change" and could easily give you "a lifetime of devoted service." I guess, says Fox Van Allen at Tecca. But why would The Port Authority pay $180,000 to rent "fake humans when they could have paid half that to hire real people"? Well, perhaps this "cheery, two-dimensional lady" really will "make the agony of modern air travel a little easier," says Eric Mack at CNET — "if she doesn't totally creep you out, that is." Take a look:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why all drugs should be legal. (Yes, even heroin.)
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 7 ideas from ancient thinkers that will improve your modern life
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- Paul Ryan's anti-poverty plan is another sign of life in the GOP
- The big, gaping hole in the liberal policy arsenal
- Are there too many good shows on television?
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- Comic-Con 2014: Everything we learned about Avengers 2, Batman v. Superman, and more
Subscribe to the Week