by Merritt Kennedy “This is my very first day at Xinhua News Agency,” says a sharply dressed artificial intelligence news anchor. “I look forward to bringing you the brand new news experiences.”
China’s Xinhua News Agency has billed the technology as the “world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor,” unveiled at the World Internet Conference in China’s Zhejiang province.
The anchor “learns from live broadcasting videos by himself and can read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor,” Xinhua says. Some disagree about whether the technology appears natural. You can decide for yourself here, with the English-speaking one modeled after real Xinhua anchor Zhang Zhao:
The AI anchor was produced with “facial landmark localization” and “face reconstruction,” according to China Daily. As the BBC notes, it “appears that photo-like facial features have been applied to a body template and animated.”
It was designed jointly with the Chinese search engine company Sogou.com. Reuters reports that there’s another version of the AI anchor, modeled on real anchor Qiu Hao. The wire service added that Sogou staff “said it wasn’t clear when the technology would actually go into use.”
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