China's State-Run Media Introduces World to its AI News Anchor

The Xinhua media group says the AI anchor can work 24 hours a day collecting and reporting the latest in breaking news.
Shelby Rogers

Look out, Ron Burgundy; AI is coming for your job. China's state-run press agency Xinhua debuted a new AI news anchor to deliver the day's most important global news. 

The company created these "AI anchors" from digital composites of human anchors and gave them synthesized voices to deliver the news. Other than those details, the agency has kept the technology used in bringing this anchorman to life under wraps. 

Whatever that technology is, it's far faster than using standard computer graphics imaging technology to animate each word in real time. 

After watching the video closely a few times, viewers can spot several glitches in the AI system. At one point, it looks like only one side of the mouth is moving. The facial expressions are clearly limited; however, that's not always a bad thing when it comes to news delivery from anchors. 

One of the best parts of having an AI anchor? "He" doesn't sleep, said the press agency.

"According to Xinhua, "he" has become a member of its reporting team and can work 24 hours a day on its official website and various social media platforms, reducing news production costs and improving efficiency," the Xinhua media team noted.

In a country where the press has been routinely suppressed by the government, an AI news anchor replacing a human sounds a little dystopian. This technology remains (for now) as a novel and intriguing way to combine rapidly evolving AI with everyday life.

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