China un­veils AI news an­chors based on their hu­man pre­sen­ters

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - INTERNATIONAL - By Kelsey Cheng © Daily Mail, Lon­don

China's state-run press agency has wel­comed two ad­di­tions to its team of jour­nal­ists - two news pre­sen­ters pow­ered by ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI).

Dressed in suit and tie, the AI news­read­ers can 'learn from live broad­cast videos and read texts as nat­u­rally as a pro­fes­sional news an­chor', ac­cord­ing to Xin­hua.

The dig­i­tal dop­pel­gangers were mod­elled af­ter the agency's jour­nal­ists, English-lan­guage an­chor Zhang Zhao and his Chi­ne­se­lan­guage coun­ter­part Qiu Hao, and were jointly de­vel­oped by Xin­hua and search engine com­pany So­gou.com.

The two AI an­chors were first seen in ac­tion at the on­go­ing 2018 World In­ter­net Con­fer­ence in Wuzhen, Zhe­jiang.

'Hello ev­ery­one, I am an English Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence An­chor. This is my very first day in Xin­hua News Agency,' says the pre­sen­ter in an in­tro­duc­tory video.

'My voice and ap­pear­ance are mod­elled on Zhang Zhao, a real an­chor with Xin­hua,' he con­tin­ued in a some­what ro­botic voice.

An AI sys­tem has been used to syn­the­sise the pre­sen­ters' voices, lip move­ments and ex­pres­sions based on those of real pre­sen­ters.

' I will work tire­lessly to keep you in­formed as texts will be typed into my sys­tem un­in­ter­rupted,' he added.

Xin­hua said the an­chors are avail­able to work 24 hours a day on its official web­site and var­i­ous so­cial me­dia plat­forms. This can re­duce news pro­duc­tion costs and im­prove ef­fi­ciency dur­ing break­ing news re­ports.

Net users on Chi­nese mi­cro-blog­ging site Weibo ques­tioned if th­ese AI an­chors would re­place hu­man re­porters.

'The AI's voice is too stiff, and it has trou­ble mak­ing the right pauses dur­ing speech,' one highly-rated comment read.

' Seems like some nor­mal pre­sen­ters are get­ting fired,' an­other user said.

'What's the point of this? I pre­fer real hu­man pre­sen­ters,' an­other said.

China's 'first AI news an­chor'

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Sri Lanka

© PressReader. All rights reserved.