China’s state-run news agency, Xinhua, recently introduced the world’s first AI (Artificial Intelligence) powered news anchor earlier this week, as reported by Guardian. These AI anchors, who deliver news in just the same way like primetime TV news anchors, will supposedly work ‘all day’ and from ‘anywhere.’
“Not only can I accompany you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I can be endlessly copied and present at different scenes to bring you the news,” says the digital version /copy of the real-life news anchor of Xinhua, Qiu Hao. Xinhua, which developed this technology with the Chinese search engine, Sogou, used machine learning to simulate the voice, facial expressions and gestures of the human anchors who are the face of the agency.
Like in many other industries, AI is transforming how news media functions. In March 2018, Wired reported that Reuters had launched Lynx Insight, an AI-powered tool to help future-proof its newsrooms. This tool will analyse terabytes of data to suggest new story ideas and perhaps even write a couple of sentences. However, unlike the dystopian claims about AI disrupting traditional journalism, for now these tools will more or less work in the background, just like the Google search engine or social media.