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  • Marijan Hassan - Tech Journalist

Meet Victoria Shi, Ukraine’s AI-generated spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry

In a move unlike any other in diplomatic history, Ukraine has unveiled Victoria Shi, an AI-generated spokesperson, to deliver official statements from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Shi, a digital persona with a name that blends "victory" with the Ukrainian term for artificial intelligence, will free up human diplomats for more complex tasks while providing 24/7 updates on consular affairs – a particularly sensitive topic right now.

Last week, Ukraine suspended consular services for men of fighting age living abroad, requiring them to return to their country for administrative procedures, potentially facing conscription into the military. This move has sparked significant debate, and Victoria Shi's role will include addressing the public's concerns regarding consular services.

"This is a technological leap forward," said Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. While human diplomats will continue to craft the messaging, Shi's lifelike appearance and voice will present it to the world.

This innovation comes at a crucial time for Ukraine. The ongoing war has strained resources, and Shi's ability to handle routine communication allows diplomats to focus on more strategic issues.

Victoria Shi's appearance and voice are modeled on Rosalie Nombre, a singer and former contestant on Ukraine’s version of the reality show "The Bachelor." Born in the now Russian-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, Nombre's personal experiences and online presence made her an ideal model for the AI spokesperson.

Nombre, who has 54,000 followers on her Instagram account, often discusses stereotypes about mixed-race Ukrainians and those who grew up as Russian speakers. She participated in the project free of charge, according to the foreign ministry, which stressed that Victoria Shi and Rosalie Nombre are two distinct individuals.

To ensure the authenticity of statements delivered by Victoria Shi, each will be accompanied by a QR code linking to text versions on the ministry’s website.

Whether Shi proves to be a diplomatic masterstroke or a technological hiccup remains to be seen.


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