Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Newsroom of the future? Chinese TV unveils unnerving ‘AI anchors’

Newsroom of the future? Chinese TV unveils unnerving ‘AI anchors’

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.

The world's first AI news anchor has been created by China's Xinhua new agency in collaboration with Chinese search engine company Sogou.

"AI anchors have officially become members of Xinhua's reporting team", the publication said in its report, adding, "Together with other anchors, they will bring you authoritative, timely and accurate news information in Chinese and English". The AI TV anchor is also said to improve efficiency as it can quickly generate breaking news.

According to the videos, the looks and features of the English-speaking anchor are based on the flesh-and-blood Xinhua news presenter Zhang Zhao, while the Chinese version is modelled on fellow Xinhua presenter Qiu Hao.

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

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The idea behind an AI newsreader is that news can be delivered 24/7 without suffering spiralling production costs. In a country where the press is heavily censored, one wonders if China has more ambitious plans to roll out more virtual news anchors, replacing human ones who might not always toe the party line.

"We've already had President Trump say things are fake news when it's been caught on camera and we no longer can trust what we see with our eyes unless you were there in person you cannot trust that it actually happened anymore", Walsh said.

But in the face of this possible reality, he admits the public may not buy into it wholeheartedly.

China has become one of the leading global hubs for AI development in recent years.

Elsewhere, the technology is making its presence felt across several professions, from medicine to transport.

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