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09 November 2018, 02:23 | Megan Pierce
China’s AI news anchor introduces himself and presents news reports
"Hello, you are watching English news program, I'm AI News anchor", the English speaking reader said at the beginning of its first broadcast. The AI TV anchor is also said to improve efficiency as it can quickly generate breaking news.
China's state news agency, Xinhua, announced on Thursday, that the anchor is an official member of its reporting team, during the fifth World Internet Conference.
Newsrooms have increasingly implemented AI technology in recent years, with outlets including The Washington Post using AI to write short reports on such topics as the outcome of sporting events or to send news alerts.
Based on the appearances of two flesh-and-blood Chinese news presenters, the computerised avatars read out text that is fed into their system, their mouths moving in tandem with the reports.
"I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted".
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'Hello everyone, I am an English Artificial Intelligence Anchor. It can read news in a synthesised voice, created to sound like a professional human anchor.
This is my very first day in Xinhua News Agency, ' says the presenter in an introductory video. Both the English and Mandarin news reading AI anchors are available across Xinhua's internet and mobile platforms, which includes its Mandarin and English apps as well as online TV webpage.
The idea behind an AI newsreader is that news can be delivered 24/7 without suffering spiralling production costs.
"It's quite hard to watch for more than a few minutes", University of Oxford Professor Michael Wooldridge told the BBC. "It's very flat, very single-paced, it's not got rhythm, pace or emphasis", Prof Wooldridge told the BBC.
Noel Sharkey, emeritus professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield, said it was a good effort, but it could be very boring even if it improves over time.
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