Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

China Unveils World’s First AI News Anchor That Looks Like Human

China Unveils World’s First AI News Anchor That Looks Like Human

In any case, with the onslaught of AI beings slowly finding their way into the mainstream occupation, it isn't hard to imagine that AI anchors could become more than just a novelty.

Xinhua News claims the presenter can "read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor".

China's state-controlled news broadcasters have always been considered somewhat robotic in their daily recitation of pro-government propaganda and a pair of new presenters will do little to dispel that view.

China's state news agency this week unveiled the world's first virtual newsman.

"He" has the voice and facial expressions of a man and can imitate a real person.

Rather than true AI, however, the Xinhua presenters merely react to text that is fed into their systems, the agency said. Xinhua started using the AI anchor in its broadcast Thursday as well as in a separate Chinese-language version modeled on another presenter.

An artificial intelligence (AI) system has been used to synthesise the presenters' voices, lip movements and expressions.

The robo-presenters were created in collaboration with a search engine company called Sogou.

"I look forward to bringing you the brand new news experiences". "This is my very first day in Xinhua news agency", Xinhua's newest AI employee said in his introductory video at the conference. The AI anchors take the form and shape of a human being and read out news stories. The AI will have "endless outputs", Xinhua says, given that they can "work 24 hours a day on its official website and various social media platforms" - provided that a human editor can supply them with the copy, that is. The AI anchor is said to "reduce news production costs and improve news efficiency".

China's news outlets are already subject to a lot of state control and censorship, so the ability to have virtual news readers to effectively do exactly what it's told is certainly an eyebrow-raising concept.

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