An Inside Look at Air New Zealand's Cutting-Edge Technology

The airline recently introduced “Sophie,” a digital human By: Emma Weissmann
Sophie, a “digital human” can answer questions about the airline’s offerings and more. // © 2017 Air New Zealand
Sophie, a “digital human” can answer questions about the airline’s offerings and more. // © 2017 Air New Zealand

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Air New Zealand
www.airnewzealand.com

Air New Zealand has long been a pioneer in the aviation industry when it comes to merging cutting-edge technology with the flying experience — think wearable “Airbands” that let parents track their children flying alone, or the “HoloLenz,” which allows flight attendants to use augmented reality to read passenger’s moods, keep track of their in-flight drink orders and more. But, now, the airline is taking things a step forward by introducing “Sophie,” a new artificial intelligence-powered “digital human” that is a part of the company’s “A Better Way to Fly” campaign.

Though Sophie doesn’t have a working brain, her cloud-based “Human Computing Engine” uses neural networks and brain models to help her answer questions about New Zealand as well as general inquiries about the airline’s offerings. And, to make things all the more realistic, she comes equipped with a Kiwi accent.

Right now, Air New Zealand has not released any plans to use Sophie on a permanent basis.

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