Innovators in China have created the world’s first AI-powered news anchor. The avatar appears on China’s state news agency Xinhua and is able to read the news in both Chinese and English.
New member of staff
Meet Qiu Hoo, the newest employee of the Chinese news company. He is a virtual newsreader, who can read news out loud all day for viewers to digest. He looks and sounds like a real person and may do the same job as one.
Impressive first day
Altogether, Mr. Hoo made quite the impression on his debut with his pin-striped suit and red tie. He introduced himself and explained what he does while blinking and raising his eyebrows, in an extremely human-like fashion.
“Hello everyone, I’m an English artificial intelligence news anchor, this is my first day in Xinhua News Agency,” said the English edition of the model.
“My voice and appearance are modeled on Zhang Zhad, a real anchor with Xinhua. The development of the media industry calls for continuous innovation and deep integration with the international advanced technologies.
“I’ll work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted. I look forward to bringing you the brand new news experiences.”
Behind the creation
Xinhua partnered with the Chinese search engine Sogou.com to create this AI model. The anchor was developed through machine learning to simulate the voice, movement and gestures of real personalities such as Zhang Zhad. Furthermore, the machine learning systems behind Qui Hoo can be customized to different clients in other industries.
With this innovation, more roles that currently require humans may be up for redundancy. Many people feel that AI and automation are continuously putting jobs at risk. On the other hand, the jobs may just be getting transformed into other segments of the industry. Here, the job of the anchor is being replaced by those behind the production.
Could it be a growing trend?
Nonetheless, we could be seeing more of these models on our screens as the technology continues to develop. There could be models based on familiar faces such as BBC’s Trevor McDonald in the future.
Despite the creativity behind the production, its current form lacks the engaging presence of a traditional news anchor. The absence of pure emotion or range of tone may be a deterrent for viewers who may prefer to watch a different channel.
The application of an AI model such as this may work in certain situations if a viewer just wants a summary of the news. Although, if someone wants an entertaining experience or if a topic requires emotional delivery, more work needs to be done to implement this.
What do you think of the rise of AI-powered TV personalities? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.