MADRID – The Spanish Ministry of the Interior recently announced that it will invest €500,000 in the development of super-realistic AI avatars to compensate for the absence of Guardia Civil agents in rural areas.
The remarkable technological leap is intended to improve and modernise services to citizens. In recent years, the Guardia Civil has had to contend with a declining number of active agents in rural areas. This is also known as the “empty Spain”.
Local communities have less and less access to security services, which has spurred the ministry to look for innovative solutions.
AI in the foreground
The project, called “Piloto Guardia Civil Virtual”, involves the installation of 10 interactive totems spread over strategic locations. These totems are equipped with two super-realistic avatars. One male and one female, dressed in the uniform of the Guardia Civil.
These AI agents will be able to conduct conversations in real-time, answer questions and even recognise the speaker’s mood.
Technology as a bridge to efficiency
The AI avatars are designed to work on Microsoft Windows, Android and iOS, and are powered by machine learning. This makes it possible to quickly recognise patterns and make predictions without human intervention. The Ministry emphasises the importance of technology as a means to be more effective in an environment of limited and dispersed resources.
Accessibility and plans
In addition to Spanish and English language options, there are plans to add accessibility features for people with visual or hearing disabilities. With this, the Ministry of the Interior hopes to create a service that is accessible to the widest possible audience.
While user acceptance has yet to be assessed, the Spanish government is taking a step towards the integration of high technology in public services.
Although at first, not everyone seems convinced of the effectiveness of an AI agent in case of problems. For example, @DHoliday7 writes on X (Twitter): ‘Tonight we are going to break into this bar’, ‘No because there is an avatar of the Guardia Civil at the door’, followed by a gif of a cynically laughing man.