An Artificial Intelligence (AI) character was made an official resident of a busy central Tokyo district on Saturday, with the virtual newcomer resembling a chatty seven-year-old boy.
The boy named “Shibuya Mirai” does not exist physically, but he can have text conversations with humans on the widely used LINE messaging app.
Tokyo's Shibuya Ward, an area popular with fashion-conscious young people, has given the character his own special residence certificate.
This makes him Japan's first artificial intelligence bot to be granted a place on a real-life local registry. The move comes days after Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to a robot named Sophia.
Mirai, whose name means “future” in Japanese, is supposed to be a first grader at an elementary school. He can reply to messages and make lighthearted alterations to selfies he is sent.
Shibuya said the project aimed to make the district's local government more familiar to residents and allow officials to hear their opinions.
“His hobbies are taking pictures and observing people. And he loves talking with people... Please talk to him about anything,” the ward said in a statement with Microsoft, the joint developer of the AI character.