A Chinese media agency is replacing human news anchors with digitally generated AI newsreaders.
Springwise has explored how journalism and the media have embraced technology to further innovate in their field. This newsroom uses deep learning to report on news without any reporters. Blockchain technology has also created entirely new models for journalism. Going even further to use technology within media, this Chinese media agency is now deploying an AI news anchor.
Xinhua has developed a digitally generated newsreader to read the news in both English and Chinese. The introduction of this virtual reporter will cut production costs and increase efficiency. Not being human also means that ‘he’ is on hand to read the news 24 hours a day, thereby enabling instant updates when necessary.
The voice and appearance of the digital anchor is based on human newsreader Zhang Zao. The result is quite convincing, although there is still some elements of the robotic in the tone of voice and certain movements. It also lacks emotional animation, yet some argue that is fitting for the reading of the news. Yet there has already been some creation of highly realistic online avatars, such as in video games. This could mean that the progression of such projects could improve on the appearance still further.
The AI anchor is already in action across several mobile and online platforms in China. There is still ongoing work to see how much more realistic the voice and image can become. Other news agencies are also pushing towards incorporating AI into their research but perhaps this innovation will also lead to more direct forms of AI technology in media.