Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

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

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

China's Xinhua news agency on Thursday unveiled the world's first AI anchor that can read news in English and Chinese.

Xinhua says the presenters can "work" 24 hours a day on its website and social media channels, "reducing news production costs".

"Hello, you are watching English news programme", says the English-speaking presenter at the start of his first report.

Sogou, a major Chinese search engine, assisted with development.

"I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted", the AI anchor said in its debut video at the conference.

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The AI anchors are the latest in an ongoing trend towards global digitization across several industries, outside of news, given that we already have the holographic pop star Hatsune Miku, not to mention the equally freaky CGI Instagram models Bermuda and Lil Miquela.

Anyone who's played Deus Ex: Human Revolution will recall the Picus news agency that used an AI news anchor to propagate propaganda of the comms agency behind the news firm. Known as "deepfakes", these videos created with AI technology are deeply concerning for several reasons, including their ability to impact elections and leave viewers at a loss when deciding what's real and what isn't. That's because you're not looking at a real person.

In his latest book, Professor Walsh predicted the evening news would be produced without any human input, from the newsreader to the writing of reports.

A more immediately worrying aspect is that virtual news readers could be yet another step down the route of delivering fake news and propaganda.

"We will see it improve over time". AI has even given human creativity a crack, with a portrait of Edmond de Belamy painted using AI selling for $610,000 at auction in October.

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