Friday, 14 August, 2020


China's State-Run News Unveils Deeply Creepy New AI Anchor

Newsroom of the future? Chinese TV unveils unnerving ‘AI anchors Xinhua News Agency Sogou
Bennie Garza | 09 November, 2018, 12:41

The program extracts and combines the features of human anchors from videos of their reporting, using their speech, lip movements and facial expressions.

The nations state news agency Xinhua News worked with Chinese tech firm Sogu to create a virtual news anchor based on the appearance of actual human news readers.

Xinhua said its newest recruits "can work 24 hours a day", allowing it to cut down on production costs.

"This is scary stuff, and arguably I am staring directly at my future replacement", veteran 10 News First newsreader Sandra Sully said of the technology.

"Hello, you are watching English news programme", says the English-speaking presenter at the start of his first report.

The AI anchors are the latest in an ongoing trend towards global digitization across several industries, outside of news, given that we already have the holographic pop star Hatsune Miku, not to mention the equally freakish CGI Instagram models Bermuda and Lil Miquela.

"I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted", says the presenter in an introductory video. In a country where the press is heavily censored, one wonders if China has more ambitious plans to roll out more virtual news anchors, replacing human ones who might not always toe the party line. "Consumers are already so wary of fake news and a robotic version only enhances that level of mistrust".

"I look forward to bringing you the brand new news experiences".

The agency points out that they may be particularly useful for disseminating breaking news reports in a timely manner.

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.

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

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