The New Zealand police department recently recruited Ella. The new police officer is not even a real person. Confused, are you? Let me explain.

Ella is the police department’s first Artificial Human cop. She is a humanoid virtual assistant that is programmed to interact with individuals face-to-face. The AI cop will use real-time animation and emulate conversations with personnel and visitors. She will take charge of her responsibilities from the next week in the department.

The department will try out their first AI cop by giving her some basic responsibilities. She will be waiting to greet visitors and directing them to collect their passes at the hall of the Police Headquarters in Wellington. She can also talk to visitors about particular issues of the police department. These include police investigation procedures and the department’s non-emergency number.

Created by the country’s own technology companies – Intela AI and Soul Machines, Ella will be able to carry out empathetic conversations with visitors and staff members. To do so, the companies programmed the virtual assistant to use body language, voice and tone.

For the first few months, the department is planning to provide her with easy responsibilities as she is a “proof of concept” as per Mike Bush, the Commissioner of Police. However, Mr. Bush is planning to amplify her role in the department as she learns more from the initial interactions with the visitors.