And. Now. The. News.
The news never sleeps, and neither do the two new anchors at China’s state-run news agency.
Xinhua News just unveiled what it’s calling the world’s first news anchors powered by artificial intelligence, at the World Internet Conference Wednesday. From the outside, they’re almost indistinguishable from their human counterparts. While Xinhua says the anchors have the “voice, facial expressions and actions of a real person,” the robotic anchors relay whatever text is fed to them in stilted speech.
“I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted,” the Englishspeaking version says in its debut video.
Developed jointly by Xinhua and Chinese search engine Sogou.com, the anchors learn from live broadcasting videos and social media, and can work “24 hours a day.”
The robots are supposed to help cut costs and improve efficiency but their presence in the media landscape raises many questions about quality of information Chinese citizens are given by their government.