China is the first country to create a virtual news anchor. The state news agency of China, Xinhua, has presented this week to its new team of Artificial Intelligence (IA) presenters, willing to report “tirelessly” every day and from anywhere in the country.
This past Thursday, Chinese viewers have seen on their screens the face of a new show, a man, dressed in a suit and tie. Up to here, nothing strange. The surprise comes when his name appears superimposed on the speaker: ‘AI virtual anchor,’ or what is the same, virtual presenter of Artificial Intelligence.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) November 7, 2018
“Hi everyone, I’m an artificial intelligence presenter. This is my first day at the news agency Xinhua, “the announcer is presented, whose image is based on a real reporter from the agency, Zhang Zhao.
“Not only can I accompany you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I can be endlessly copied and present in different scenes to bring you the news, “adds the virtual presenter.
Xinhua has also presented another English-speaking AI, based on another presenter, which adds: “The development of the media industry requires continuous innovation and deep integration with advanced international technologies. I hope to offer you new news experiences. ”
Developed by Xinhua and the Chinese search engine Sogou, these virtual presenters have been developed through machine learning to be able to simulate the voice, facial movements, and gestures of real speakers. According to the agency, they want to give a “realistic image instead of a cold robot.”
According to Xinhua, artificial intelligence technology will not be limited to just presenting news. And is that these androids can be customized to adapt to other industries. This Artificial Intelligence were presented during the Annual World Internet Conference of China, a reference event for the technology sector in the Asian country.
There have been critical voices that see this innovation as another step for the control of information in China. For news anchors in Xinhua State, who already have to adhere to a strict script and control, AI presenters go a step further. Not only that China keeps proving people wrong who think that their job was not at risk from advancing technology.
The video of the Chinese presenter has spread quickly on social networks in China, and of course, has generated reactions of all kinds. “A bit horrible,” one viewer said, while another finds it “really scary.”