Goodbye humans, China gets a virtual TV news anchor

Goodbye humans, China gets a virtual TV news anchor

Both anchors have already been put to work on a handful of distribution channels, like its public WeChat account, the TV webpage, two Weibo accounts, and the network's English and Chinese apps. News reports are fed into the system uninterrupted, meaning these newsreaders could theoretically operate 24-7.

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.

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.

The two virtual anchors, one for the Chinese language and one for the English language, combine the images and voices of real human anchors with artificial intelligence.

There are actually a couple of AI Synthetic Anchors: One is a clone of the Xinhua News Agency's Hao Qiu and delivers the news in Mandarin; the other is modeled on Xinhua newscaster Zhang Zhao and performs in English. "This is my very first day in Xinhua news agency", Xinhua's newest AI employee said in his introductory video at the conference.

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These AI anchors are basically digital composites created from footage of human hosts that read the news using synthesized voices, which means an AI system was used to synthesise presenters voices, lip movements and expressions.

"As an AI news anchor under development, I know there is a lot for me to improve", the AI anchor said. It makes sense for news agencies trying to reduce news production costs.

He explained: "It's quite hard to watch for more than a few minutes".

The highest paid news anchor, CNN's Anderson Cooper, is reportedly paid US$100 million a year, while Diane Sawyer at ABC and Sean Hannity at Fox News earn US$80 million each. It's very flat, very single-paced, it's not got rhythm, pace or emphasis.

"We will see it improve over time".

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