Chinese state media debuts 'AI' news anchors

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionChina's'first AI news anchor

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionChina's'first AI news anchor

Don't adjust your TV set, that's just a new computer-generated news anchor working out the bugs.

China's state-run press agency, Xinhua, recently unveiled its new "AI Anchor".

The AI anchor has also started presenting news reports. The AI anchors are able to "read" any text fed into the artificial intelligence using synthetic voices that are created through the use of composite audio recorded from the real-life anchors.

'I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted, ' he added. 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 South China Morning Post reports that the two anchors-one for English broadcasts and one for Chinese-language announcements-combine the images and voices of human anchors with artificial intelligence (AI) technology, mixing their speech, lip movements, and facial expressions.

"As an AI news anchor under development, I know there is a lot for me to improve", the AI anchor said.

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The digital anchors can be programmed to read news faster than the traditional CGI techniques that are used.

"I'm an English artificial news anchor, this is my very first day in Xinhua News Agency, my voice and appearance are modeled on Zhang Zhao a real anchor with Xinhua", he said.

Xinhua says the presenters can "work" 24 hours a day on its website and social media channels, "reducing news production costs".

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.

"It's quite hard to watch for more than a few minutes", University of Oxford Professor Michael Wooldridge told the BBC.

"We will see it improve over time", he told the BBC.

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