This news anchor is actually an AI-powered robot

Newsroom of the future? Chinese TV unveils unnerving ‘AI anchors

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.

The English-speaking "artificial intelligence" anchor for China's Xinhua News Agency made its debut at the fifth World Internet Conference in east China's Zhejiang Province - which began Wednesday and runs until Friday.

There is both an English and Chinese-speaking version with different faces.

The anchors' facial expressions are also somewhat limited (and mildly unsettling) but it's still early days.

Dressed in suit and tie, the AI newsreaders can "learn from live broadcast videos and read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor", according to Xinhua.

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

'Hello everyone, I am an English Artificial Intelligence Anchor. But there's one difference: While human anchors work eight hours everyday, their AI clones can report news tirelessly 24/7.

Xinhua teamed up with the Chinese search engine Sogou to extract features of human anchors from videos of their reporting, using their speech, lip movements and human expression.

Anyone who's played Deus Ex: Human Revolution will recall the Picus news agency that used an AI news anchor to propagate propaganda of the comms agency behind the news firm.

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

"If you're just looking at animation you've completely lost that connection to an anchor".

It was a "good first effort", however, said Noel Sharkey, emeritus professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield.

"We will see it improve over time".

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