China’s state media agency Xinhua just revealed the first “AI anchor” that can talk, move, and act like a real human news anchor. It also revealed an English version of its new AI anchor.
Xinhua created the anchor in collaboration with search engine company Sogou.com. They fed live broadcasting videos to an algorithm to teach the AI anchor to speak. According to a Xinhua blog post, the AI was created to reduce “news production costs,” and improve efficiency.
Xinhua’s first English AI anchor introduces himself as what he is and what his capabilities are. This AI anchor’s face and voice has been designed based on the agency’s news anchor, Zhang Zhao. He can read news as it is typed out in the teleprompter. The AI news anchor also assures that he will “work tirelessly” and read out news without any interruptions. The anchor’s movement seems very fluid and life-like, and visually.
Reason behind the making the AI news anchor
Taking the human element out of news broadcasting might reduce costs, but isn’t bound to make it any more engaging. Listening to a monotonous robot drone on about world trade and politics doesn’t really sound like the utopian future that all are hoping for. However, considering the speed at which machine learning and AI is developing, it’s not hard to imagine a future where AI anchors are going to be indistinguishable from the real thing — for better or for worse.
Limitation of this AI news Anchor
The technology has its limitations. it’s obvious that the range of facial expressions is limited, and the voice is clearly artificial. As machine learning research is making swift improvements in this area, and it’s not hard to imagine a future where AI anchors are indistinguishable from the real thing.