Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

China's Xinhua news shows off AI news reader

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionChina's'first AI news anchor Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionChina's'first AI news anchor
Kenny Thornton | 09 November, 2018, 12:41

It's a question for perhaps the not-so-distant future, as China's state news agency unveils its first virtual news anchors.

The program extracts and combines the features of human anchors from videos of their reporting, using their speech, lip movements and facial expressions.

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

The two AI anchors were first seen in action at the ongoing 2018 World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang. 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.

Xinhua News claims the presenter "can read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor", though not everyone may agree. The programme has been made in English and Chinese.

Marine combat veteran kills 12 in California bar shooting
Neighbours said Thursday they would hear loud, aggressive fights between the two. "He looked like he knew what he was doing". Officers speculated Long, who had served in Afghanistan for seven months, was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted", says the presenter in an introductory video. Since it's an AI anchor, news is read out in a very monotonous manner with no expressions in between.

Xinhua's AI anchors are doing their thing on selected distribution channels including the news agency's English and Chinese apps, WeChat public account, TV webpage, and two Weibo accounts.

The real newsreader is on the left and the artificial intelligence is on the right. The AI anchor is said to "reduce news production costs and improve news efficiency". I prefer real human presenters, ' another said.

A Chinese speaking "artificial intelligence" anchor has also been unveiled, with a different face.

Walsh said China is quickly starting to lead the way in AI development, with the nation investing in the field "in a big way" as they seek economic and military dominance.

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