A London council has replaced its front desk receptionist - with a hologram. Virtual assistant Shanice will be trained to answer a limited number of questions on reception at Brent council.

The council spent £12,000 on the hologram, but said it was cheaper to have a virtual employee than a human member of staff.

Shanice will appear to sit behind a desk at the town hall but actually be projected on to a screen to “help point people in the right direction”, according to the Evening Standard.

She will be able to give visitors to the £90 million building in North West London directions to the correct part of the building to register births and deaths or apply for a marriage licence or citizenship.

James Denselow, Brent’s lead member for customers and citizens, said: “Nowadays we’re constantly having to look at innovative ways to cut costs and they don’t come more cutting edge than Shanice.