China’s state-run Xinhua news agency has new star anchors – virtual presenters that use artificial intelligence (AI) to read the news.
The AI newsreaders were unveiled on Wednesday at the World Internet Conference tech expo in Wuzhen. While one suit-clad anchor presented the news in Chinese, the other did so in English. “Hello, you are watching English news program, I’m AI news anchor,” the English-speaking presenter said at the beginning of the first broadcast.
The newsreaders are designed to work 24 hours a day, provided human editors keep feeding them information, according to the South China Morning Post. A video of one newscast was shared by Xinhua on its Twitter page. Although the virtual anchor’s features are based on a real-life Xinhua host, Zhang Zhao, his voice remains robotic and detached. The anchor also acknowledged that he was still a work in progress and said in his sign-off message, “As an AI news anchor under development, I know there is a lot for me to improve.”