AI News: An AI News Anchor in China

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Last week, China’s state-owned Xinhua News Agency introduced automated news anchors which combine the images and voices of their human counterparts with artificial intelligence technology. In a statement, Xinhua said, 

  • AI anchors have officially become members of the Xinhua News Agency reporting team. They will work with other anchors to bring you authoritative, timely and accurate news information ...

  • "[AI anchor can] work 24 hours a day on our official website and various social media platforms, reducing news production costs and improving efficiency.”

In a demonstration at China’s annual World Internet Conference, an AI anchor said,

  • “Not only can I accompany you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I can be endlessly copied and present at different scenes to bring you the news ...

  • "The development of the media industry calls for continuous innovation and deep integration with the international advanced technologies … I look forward to bringing you brand new news experiences ...

  • "I, who was wholly cloned from a real-life host, have mastered broadcasting as well as the real host,

  •  “As long as I am provided with text, I can speak as a news host … As an AI news anchor under development, I know that there is a lot for me to improve."

Note: Xinhua worked with Sogou, Inc. to develop the news anchor platform. Sogou is based Beijing, had revenues of $907 million in 2017 and is owned by Tencent (42%) and Sohu (36%).

OUR TAKE

  • After viewing the AI news anchors, their motions seem rigid and the voice a bit robotic. Providing a better AI experience likely does not require any technology break-through. The solution may be using better integration and development resources.

  • These "news anchors" demonstrate another AI use case and the approach can be applied in other areas such as entertainment, education/training, customer service and medical therapy.

  • As Xinhua's AI news anchors improve, it will be interesting to see the impact on news anchors at other organizations globally and the salaries of celebrity anchors in the US, that are paid $50 million a year or more.  

FPM Team