China’s Xinhua state news agency recently introduced AI-powered news anchors that will report “tirelessly, all day, every day, from anywhere in the country.”
The English-speaking AI Anchor made its debut in early November and is based on a real, live Chinese news anchor named Zhang Zhao. As the anchors are fed text of the day’s news, AI and machine learning power its facial movements and voice, including appropriate intonation, pitch, and emotion. At least that’s the goal.
Chinese search engine company Sogou developed the technology, which uses algorithms to draw upon real footage that is combined with text to “re-create” a real-sounding, human-like anchor. According to the Xinhua News Agency, the anchor “learns from live broadcasting videos by himself and can read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor.”
However, a recent MIT Technology Review article challenged the true “intelligence” of the news anchor, calling it a “digital puppet” and “a narrow example of machine learning.” The article went on to warn of the potential misuses of the technology, including spreading misinformation, and, well, fake news.
You be the judge.
Cool or creepy?
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