Sgt. Star is a 6-foot-1, clean-shaven, strong-jawed white male, with eyes that match the camouflage pattern on his combat uniform. His voice is deep, authoritative and carefully enunciative. He seems to be in his 30s, but he is actually only about 7 years old.
Sgt. Star is not a real person, or at least not a corporeal one. He is a chatbot -- an artificial intelligence program designed to hold conversations -- that was commissioned by the U.S. Army to help with recruitment efforts. He can recognize questions and dispense answers, verbally and in text, and also help the user surf the GoArmy.com website. According to marketing materials, he has answered more than 11 million questions so far.
Last year, we filed a request with the Army to see if we could obtain him, or elements of him, through the Freedom of Information Act. More than 75 calendar days have passed and the Army still hasn't responded, not even to say they're withholding the records.
Free Sgt. Star: Army Ignores FOIA Request for Artificial Intelligence Records