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China’s first AI news presenter

Written by NTN staff

Xinhua News claims the newsreader can help reduce news production costs and could herald the future of breaking news.

Journalism is one of the professions identified as being under threat from the coming AI wave, where software algorithms are already capable of taking key words and phrases from a news item to rework the story.

The Xinhua news agency has unveiled a virtual new presenter which it believes could be particularly useful for disseminating breaking news reports in a timely manner. The avatar can "work" 24 hours a day on its website and social media channels, "reducing news production costs”, the agency said.

An artificial intelligence (AI) system has been used to synthesise the presenters' voices, lip movements and expressions. They are based on those of real Xinhua presenters. A Chinese speaking version comes with different facial features. Sogou, a Chinese search engine, was involved in the system's development.

As with many tech developments, people may take time to get used to the idea, just like they did with talking to their hardware devices in the home on a mass scale.

You can see a video of him in action here: