Is this Our Future? China Develops News Anchor powered by Artificial Intelligence

Is this Our Future? China Develops News Anchor powered by Artificial Intelligence

Is this Our Future? China Develops News Anchor powered by Artificial Intelligence

China's state-run press agency, Xinhua, has launched its new AI news anchors.

The world's first Artificial Intelligence TV news anchor resembles a male human anchor and has the voice and facial expressions of a real person.

It developed the anchors with the Chinese search-engine giant Sogou.

Dressed in crisp suits with distinctly sleek news anchor haircuts, the two new hosts were unveiled this week at the World Internet Conference in east China's Zhejiang Province, one for a Mandarin-speaking audience and one for an English-speaking audience.

"I'll work tirelessly to keep you informed, as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted".

"We quite value the relationship we have with the news readers that we get to know over many years", he said.

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In a post, Xinhua said the generated anchors could work "24 hours a day" on its website and various social-media platforms, "reducing news production costs and improving efficiency".

But Noel Sharkey, emeritus professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield, called it a "good first effort".

"I can be endlessly copied and present at different scenes to bring you the news", he says. If that wasn't enough, the looks and features of the AI anchors are that of real Xinhua news presenters.

Based on the appearances of two flesh-and-blood Chinese news presenters, the computerised avatars read out text - one in Chinese, one in English - that is fed into their system, their mouths moving in tandem with the reports.

Sogou chief executive Wang Xiaochuan, for his part, touted virtual assistants which he said are quickly developing "as an efficient way to solve daily problems".

The virtual presenters are created using 3D digital models of real humans an then apply AI tech to synthesise the voices of presenters and replicate their expressions and lip movements, without the need for more time-consuming traditional CGI processes.

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