First AI newsreader looks UNCANNILY like real deal

Can you tell the difference? First AI newsreader looks UNCANNILY like real deal

IN a world first, a Chinese state news agency has created a virtual newsreader that works 24/7 and says whatever it is told to.

By FREDDIE JORDAN 17:19, Thu, Nov 8, 2018
China: Xinhua agency unveils 'first AI news anchor'

The AI’s looks are closely modelled on a real news anchor, and its lips are matched to frame each word that is programmed to come out of its mouth.

The agency jokes that he works 24/7 without taking any overtime.

Xinhua News claims the presenter can “read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor”.

"I look forward to bringing you the brand new news experiences."

Sogou, a major Chinese search engine, assisted with development.

There is both an English and Chinese-speaking version with different faces.

An artificial intelligence (AI) system has been used to synthesise the presenters' voices, lip movements and expressions. They are based on those of real Xinhua presenters.

The real newsreader is on the left and the artificial intelligence is on the right.

Rather than creating a whole 3D model, the agency has crafted a photorealistic version of the presenters and simply animated their facial features.

Michael Wooldridge, a Professor at the University of Oxford, said the result is mixed.

He explained: “It's quite difficult to watch for more than a few minutes. It's very flat, very single-paced, it's not got rhythm, pace or emphasis.

"If you're just looking at animation you've completely lost that connection to an anchor.”

Noel Sharkey, a robotics professor at the University of Sheffield, was slightly more impressed.

He said it was a “good first effort”.

“We will see it improve over time”.

“The problem is that it could be very dull.”


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