Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has introduced a virtual artificial intelligence (AI) spokesperson to announce consular updates on behalf of the ministry.

The virtual consular representative called Victoriya Shi was created based on the likeness of Rosalie Nombre, a Ukrainian singer and media personality of presumably mixed heritage born in Donetsk who garnered popularity among Ukrainians as a participant in Holostyak, the Ukrainian version of The Bachelor reality show in Western countries.

Nombre agreed to the use of her voice and likeness “pro bono,” read the ministry’s press release.

A teaser video released by the ministry had the virtual representative describe her role and functions.

“My name symbolizes our main goal – the victory of Ukraine, and my last name – the artificial intelligence that created me. My work will consist of reporting operational and verified information of the consular department of the MFA of Ukraine to the public.

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“I will inform journalists of news about the work of consuls in protecting the rights and interests of Ukrainian citizens abroad, responding to incidents or emergency situations and other news,” the virtual representative said.

The ministry said it has employed multiple measures to counter “digital counterfeiting,” including QR codes that lead to official statements from the ministry itself to help viewers confirm the authenticity.

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The ministry said it decided to experiment with AI technology to cut down time and resources to facilitate processes during wartime.

“Real diplomats will be able to be more effective and focus on other tasks of providing assistance to citizens,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba.

Ukraine, with a thriving tech industry, has been digitizing its government institutions and processes in recent years, but the ministry’s move to introduce AI technologies using deepfake (technologies comprising digitally generated visuals or audio that resemble reality) might be one of its boldest moves yet.

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In 2019, the government established the Ministry of Digital Transformation, which created the Diia eGovernment portal that it said could help battle corruption in the country by removing the human factor in governmental processes.

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