China's AI news anchor vows to 'work tirelessly to keep you informed'


"I look forward to bringing you the brand new news experiences".

The virtual presenters are created using 3D digital models of real humans an then apply AI tech to synthesise the voices of presenters and replicate their expressions and lip movements, without the need for more time-consuming traditional CGI processes.

It's a question for perhaps the not-so-distant future, as China's state news agency unveils its first virtual news anchors.

The agency says that each of these artificially intelligent anchors can work 24×7 for the website and thus reduce news production costs by improving efficiency.

Xinhua developed the AI news anchors in cooperation with the Chinese search engine company Sogou.

China has got its first Artificial Intelligence (AI) news anchor. Its limited range of motion and expressions becomes repetitive after a short time, while its gray crisp suit and perfectly coiffed hair are even more rigid than human cable news hosts.

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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. I prefer real human presenters, ' another said.

"It's quite hard to watch for more than a few minutes", University of Oxford Professor Michael Wooldridge told the BBC.

One would imagine that TV news anchors, for example, wouldn't be threatened by advancing technology, but it seems that might not be the case.

But Noel Sharkey, emeritus professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield, called it a "good first effort".

"If you're just looking at animation you've completely lost that connection to an anchor", he said.

"The problem is that it could be very boring".