Chinese state media debuts AI news anchors

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionChina's'first AI news anchor

There are actually a couple of AI Synthetic Anchors: One is a clone of the Xinhua News Agency's Hao Qiu and delivers the news in Mandarin; the other is modeled on Xinhua newscaster Zhang Zhao and performs in English.

"Xinhua said the new digital presenters "[learn] from live broadcasting videos" by themselves.

The machine-learning program makes it possible for the artificial newsreader to copy lip movements and facial expressions in time with the story it's reading, according to the South China Morning Post.

Xinhua said that together with other anchors, "He" will bring you authoritative, timely and accurate news information in Chinese and English.

But AI anchors may one day challenge the human variety due to their ability to work 24 hours a day provided human editors keep inputting text into the system.

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The AI technology has a "endless prospects" because it will greatly improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of producing daily TV news reports, Xinhua said, adding that it could also quickly generate breaking news reports to improve the timeliness and quality of such reports. He can read news as it is typed out in the teleprompter.

The impact of this AI technology has already been felt in the media landscape.

In April this year, BuzzFeed created an eerily convincing video of former US President Barack Obama appearing to speak against Donald Trump.

China's state-controlled news broadcasters have always been considered somewhat robotic in their daily recitation of pro-government propaganda and a pair of new presenters will do little to dispel that view.

But in the face of this possible reality, he admits the public may not buy into it wholeheartedly. Since it's an AI anchor, news is read out in a very monotonous manner with no expressions in between. 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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