Friday, 17 January, 2020

China debuts the world's first AI news presenter

Newsroom of the future? Chinese TV unveils unnerving ‘AI anchors Xinhua News Agency Sogou
Cecil Davis | 09 November, 2018, 02:42

Xinhua News claims the presenter "can read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor", though not everyone may agree.

The South China Morning Post reports that the two anchors-one for English broadcasts and one for Chinese-language announcements-combine the images and voices of human anchors with artificial intelligence (AI) technology, mixing their speech, lip movements, and facial expressions.

At the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China, the country's state-run news agency, Xinhua, unveiled the "world's first AI news anchor", which was created in collaboration with local search engine company Sogou.

"I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted", says the presenter in an introductory video.

The agency points out that they may be particularly useful for disseminating breaking news reports in a timely manner.

Xinhua's first English AI anchor introduces himself as what he is and what his capabilities are.

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"He has become a member of (our) reporting team and can work 24 hours a day on (our) official website and various social media platforms, reducing news production costs and improving efficiency", reports Xinhua. I prefer real human presenters, ' another said.

Michael Wooldridge, a Professor at the University of Oxford, said the result is mixed.

THE RISE OF THE MACHINES will be televised if China's artificial intelligence (AI) news presenter is anything to go by.

He explained: "It's quite hard to watch for more than a few minutes". The virtual newsreader donning a sharp suit is basically a collection of digital composites created from videos of real human hosts.

"If you're just looking at animation you've completely lost that connection to an anchor", he said.