In a bold move that's as creepy as it is impressive, China's state-run news agency Xinhua has unveiled its new "AI news anchors" which will be broadcasting across the company's TV and web platforms. The programme has been made in English and Chinese.
Xinhua claims that its AI anchors "can read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor", however their clearly artificial and heavily synthesized voices can sometimes struggle with the nuances of pronunciation. "They will work with other anchors to bring you authoritative, timely and accurate news information in both Chinese and English".
In any case, with the onslaught of AI beings slowly finding their way into the mainstream occupation, it isn't hard to imagine that AI anchors could become more than just a novelty.
Xinhua said the achievement was a "breakthrough in the field of global AI synthesis", pioneering the synthesis of real-time audio and video with AI-created anchors in the news field.
Viewers may one day be able to choose the artificial anchor from whom they prefer to hear the news.
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The AI clones' voices, lip movements and expressions are based on real Chinese presenters, and can deliver news as words are typed into their system. This can reduce news production costs and improve efficiency during breaking news reports.
"As an AI news anchor under development, I know there is a lot for me to improve", the AI anchor said.
"It's quite hard to watch for more than a few minutes", University of Oxford Professor Michael Wooldridge told the BBC.
He also pointed out that human news presenters have traditionally - in many cases - become highly trusted public figures. "It's very flat, very single-paced, it's not got rhythm, pace or emphasis", Prof Wooldridge told the BBC.
"We'll probably keep that although you can see the financial advantages to replacing those very expensive newsreaders with AI robots that never sleep and never require wages".