How would you feel about a machine instead of a human being delivering your headlines each day? China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency has created what it’s claiming is the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor. The “English AI Anchor” made its first appearance at the fifth World Internet Conference in east China’s Zhejiang Province.
Xinhua News Agency and Chinese tech giant Sogou.com jointly created the AI news anchor. It is male and acts, talks and resembles a human being. The anchor is based on the agency’s presenter Zhang Zhao. The AI anchor learns by watching live broadcasting videos. It can read texts nearly as naturally as human newsmen.
Check out a video of the news anchor HERE. It’s hard to tell that the presenter is not human.
The addition of the AI anchor is expected to reduce production costs and improve efficiency due to its ability to work 24 hours a day via the Xinhua website and social media platforms.
“The development of the media industry calls for continuous innovation and deep integration with the international advanced technologies,” the AI anchor said in his first broadcast.
“I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted. I look forward to bringing you the brand-new news experiences.”
The AI broadcaster is featured on Xinhua’s Twitter feed, reports CNBC. One clip shows it announcing that China will launch a probe to Mars in 2020. In another clip, the AI anchor recognizes there is room for improvement in its broadcasting abilities.
“Before we go, I’d like to send my good wishes to all of the journalists across the country. As an AI anchor under development I know there is a lot for me to improve,” he said.
There are some concerns about the introduction of AI into a working society, particularly the loss of jobs. Research firm Gartner estimates that AI will create 2.3 million jobs and eliminate 1.8 million by 2020, reports CNBC. Over the next five years, the AI industry could generate over $3.9 trillion, Gartner predicts. For example, businesses such as Apple and Coinbase use AI platform Triblebyte to hire software engineers.