Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

China's Xinhua agency unveils world's first AI news presenters

Newsroom of the future? Chinese TV unveils unnerving ‘AI anchors Xinhua News Agency Sogou
Jeannette Daniel | 09 November, 2018, 01:26

The state-run press agency in China, Xinhua, will now deliver news using "AI anchors" made of digital composites that use synthesized voices to "read" the news. "They will work with other anchors to bring you authoritative, timely and accurate news information in both Chinese and English", Xinhua said.

Xinhua in collaboration with search engine operator Sogou unveiled the new technology at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China, South China Morning Post reported.

The new "anchor" can work 24 hours a day, "reducing news production costs and improving efficiency", according to the outlet.

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

The AI's looks are closely modelled on a real news anchor, and its lips are matched to frame each word that is programmed to come out of its mouth. While the move could be seen as a threat to human journalists' jobs, some appear to welcome the innovation.

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

More news: Rihanna Sends Trump Cease And Desist Over 'Don't Stop The Music'

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Xinhua further says that the AI anchor has already become a member of the agency's reporting team. I prefer real human presenters, ' another said.

He explained: "It's quite hard to watch for more than a few minutes. It's very flat, very single-paced, it's not got rhythm, pace or emphasis", Prof Wooldridge told the BBC.

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

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

"The problem is that it could be very tiresome".

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