China Unveils 'An Artificial Intelligence Virtual News Anchor'

November 8, 2018

Because it was only a matter of time until someone did it, this is a video demonstration of "an artificial intelligence virtual news anchor" created by the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua to read the news. The agency says that they've developed two of the anchors (one for Chinese, one for English), and, admittedly, they're pretty realistic. The synthesized voice though -- they need to do something about that. I've heard far more convincing human-speak from someone wearing one of those Transformers voice-changing masks.

It's not clear exactly what technology has been used to create the anchors, but they're in line with the most recent machine learning research. It seems that Xinhua has used footage of human anchors as a base layer, and then animated parts of the mouth and face to turn the speaker into a virtual puppet. By combining this with a synthesized voice, Xinhua can program the digital anchors to read the news, far quicker than using traditional CGI.


Xinhua says the anchors have "endless prospects" and can be used to cheaply generate news reports for the agency's TV, web, and mobile output.

Each anchor can "work 24 hours a day on its official website and various social media platforms, reducing news production costs and improving efficiency," says Xinhua.

The future, folks. Soon nothing will be real and you won't be able to tell if you're living inside a computer simulation, or a computer simulation is living inside of you. "What's that even supposed to mean?" No clue, I just thought it made me sound smart. "Well it didn't." Dammit. *punching self in head* 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110010 01100001 01110100 00100000 01100110 01100001 01110010 01110100 00100001

Keep going for the whole video.

Thanks to No Need and Christopher C, who agree nothing is true, everything is permitted.

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