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China Unveils First Virtual TV Anchors That Use Artificial Intelligence (Watch Video)

It looks like what you see in video games but this is no game at all.

Technology is beginning to take over a number of human activities but it would have been difficult to imagine that one day news anchors would not longer be needed. That is what seems to be happening now. The first television station with Artificial Intelligence (AI) Virtual news anchors has been unveiled.

This was displayed at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China. The country’s state-run news agency, Xinhua, unveiled the “world’s first AI news anchor,” which was created in collaboration with local search engine company Sogou, report’s TechSpot.

The South China Morning Post reports that the two anchors—one for English broadcasts and one for Chinese-language announcements—combine the images and voices of human anchors with artificial intelligence (AI) technology, mixing their speech, lip movements, and facial expressions. While the voice clearly sounds robotic, and the facial expressions leave a lot to be desired, these will likely become more human-like in future iterations.

“AI anchors have officially become members of the Xinhua News Agency reporting team. They will work with other anchors to bring you authoritative, timely and accurate news information in both Chinese and English,” Xinhua said.

The AI anchors were modelled after two journalists of the agency. The virtual news anchors learn from live vidoes and read texts as naturally as professional news anchors
The anchors are now available through Xinhua’s distribution platforms, including its official Chinese and English apps, WeChat public account, online TV webpage, and two Weibo accounts.

Xinhua says that the technology has “endless prospects” as it would reduce the cost of producing TV news reports and the digital anchors can work 24 hours a day. It’s hard to imagine these AI news readers ever replacing the likes of Anderson Cooper, but in a world of virtual celebrities and Deepfakes videos, who knows for certain what the future might hold.

Source: TechSpot

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, (formerly Anambra State University), Igbariam Campus.

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