China introduces world’s first AI news anchor

The Nation

On this week, Xinhua – a state news agency of China has introduced the world’s first AI news anchor in its newsroom. The  AI news anchor is modeled on a real presenter named Zhang Zhow. Since they might not be real; the agency says that the anchor can read text mimic facial expression and impersonate mannerism as realistically as human. So much so they could threaten the job of presenter they are modeled of literally.

The AI anchor, developed by Xinhua and tech firm Sogou Inc (SOGO.N), was demonstrated at the World Internet Conference in the eastern Chinese town of Wuzhen, drawing in curious passers-by.

Xinhua stated on its official website that they are experimenting with software as a way to lower production cost.

The robot anchor made their debut in both English and Chinese script. The agency created their AI presenter with tech firm Sogou, using facial recognition, facial modeling and speech synthesis software.

Meanwhile, human journalists are looking over their shoulders.

China is considered the leaders in the AI industry, having already produced advance surveillance equipment and self-driving cars.

On the very first day of the newsroom, the AI news anchor started its presentation by stating “Hello I am an English Artificial Intelligence anchor. This is my very first day in Xinhua News Agency.” Similarly, the AI anchor explained the concept behind the new technology.

“The rapid progress of the media sector demands continuous innovation and deep integration with the advanced international technologies; I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted, I look forward to bringing you the brand new news experiences,” told the  AI news anchor.

In a separate feed, the AI anchor mentioned its current limitations. “As an AI news anchor under development, I know there is a lot for me to improve.” Added the AI anchor.

Xinhua informed the AI technology is not limited to news anchoring. The systems can be customized to different clients and can be exploited in other industries and markets.

Research firm Gartner made a prophecy that Artificial Intelligence will create 2.3 million jobs by 2020. At the same time, the firm anticipates AI to eliminate 1.8 million jobs over the same period.

After looking at the AI news anchor innovated by China, it proves that the world of technology has steeped to the next level. If the progress of technology goes at the same pace, then we can expect to see lots of incredible technology stuff in the future.

International websites that include Alphabet’s Google and Facebook Inc (FB.O) are prohibited in China, where authorities also strictly manage online content and censor or punish those who post or uploads material seen as opposed to “core socialist values.”

Reporting by Prasun Sangroula 

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