Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared surprised when he was confronted by an AI-generated image of himself asking him if he had doubles during his marathon end-of-year press conference Thursday.
“Vladimir Vladimirovich, hello,” the image on a big screen said to Putin, who appeared briefly taken aback.
“I wanted to ask you if it’s true that you have a lot of doubles?” a male voice behind the image said, saying he was a student in Saint Petersburg.
The 71-year-old Russian leader laughed.
“I can see that you can look like me and even talk in my voice,” he said.
“But I thought about it and decided that only one person should look like me and talk in my voice,” he added, smiling.
Putin also responded to a video from a young child worried that her grandmother would be replaced by a computer image.
“I can tell you for sure, nobody will replace your grandmother. That is impossible,” Putin said.
The longtime Russian leader has called for Russia to rival “biased” Western chatbots with its own technology.
On Thursday he said it is “impossible to stop” AI, adding: “That means that we should lead in it.”
Putin has repeatedly called for Moscow to end its dependence on Western technology and has ordered his government to pour funding into developing supercomputers and AI research.