Much has been made lately of the newest tech-y addition to airport arrivals halls, those hologram helpers, but up until this weekend we hadn't seen one for ourselves. The entire machine, a sizeable thing, can be found at the transportation help centers, where you may go to ask a question about taxi fares or how to get a bus versus a taxi.
Hologram girl's purpose is to answer the most basic of questions so you no longer have to wait to speak with a human. Except she's not exactly a hologram. A hologram projects an image into open space, a la Princess Leia's "help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope" message beamed out of R2-D2 in Star Wars. Instead, airport hologram girl is a projection onto a person-shaped piece of plexi, which stands a respectable distance out into the baggage claim area as if she is indeed able to help and answer questions.
Luckily we did observe a real person still staffing the transportation information center, so all hope is not lost. We say this because hologram girl only has a set speech she repeats, about not accepting rides from strangers and all that jazz. Her most valuable statement concerned going outside to the official taxi rank queue. And, despite the greetings in several languages printed on the side of the machine, she only seems to speak English (yes, we tried speaking other languages at her, to no avail).
Frankly, we're not totally sure why she's needed at all in airports that offer Free WiFi (such as JFK's Terminal 5, where we found her). Travelers who shrink away from new technology and rely on human faces won't be much comforted by this one.