This news anchor is actually an AI-powered robot

This news anchor is actually an AI-powered robot

The digital news anchor itself is also based off a real life news Xinhua news anchor named Zhang Zhao. One would imagine that TV news anchors, for example, wouldn't be threatened by advancing technology, but it seems that might not be the case.

Calling it a "world first", Xinhua news agency this week debuted a pair of virtual news anchors amid a state-directed embrace of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence.

The highest paid news anchor, CNN's Anderson Cooper, is reportedly paid US$100 million a year, while Diane Sawyer at ABC and Sean Hannity at Fox News earn US$80 million each. The anchor resembles a male human anchor with the voice and facial expressions of a real person.

In an introductory video, the software says: "I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted".

Xinhua's AI anchors are doing their thing on selected distribution channels including the news agency's English and Chinese apps, WeChat public account, TV webpage, and two Weibo accounts.

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The anchor's machine learning programme is able to synthesise realistic-looking speech, lip movements and facial expressions, Xinhua said, to deliver news with "the same effect" as a human. The AI anchors take the form and shape of a human being and read out news stories. Xinhua started using the AI anchor in its broadcast Thursday as well as in a separate Chinese-language version modeled on another presenter. Chinese search engine Sogou provided the underlying technology, but it's unclear exactly how these newsreaders were developed.

"He has become a member of (our) reporting team and can work 24 hours a day on (our) official website and various social media platforms, reducing news production costs and improving efficiency", reports Xinhua.

"It's quite hard to watch for more than a few minutes".

"We will see it improve over time", he told the BBC.

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