TOKYO -- "Do you need me to tell everyone your life story?" asks Lia as she appears on a screen, offering to introduce the speaker. Her wrinkles and moving eyes make her look like a real person, but she is a digital humanoid.
New Zealand-based startup Soul Machines has so far created 15 such humanoids -- disembodied screen presences -- employed mainly as customer service assistants. They work in seven countries for companies including Royal Bank of Scotland and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.