China’s state-run media agency Xinhua and Beijing-based search engine Sogou has created two AI composite Anchors one for English and the other for Chinese viewers. The digital composites are created from the footage of Human hosts which read the new using synthesized videos, revealed at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen Wednesday.
It is not clear what kind of technology has used to create AI composite Anchors, it looks like Xinhua use the footage of Human anchors as a base layer, then animated parts of the entire face and to turn the speaker into a virtual puppet. They combine this with Synthesized video Xinhua programmed the digital anchors to read the news which is faster than using traditional CGI.
According to reports from Xinhua, the AI anchors were built in collaboration with local search engine company Sogou. Xinhua says anchors have endless prospects and can be proved useful to 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, “Together with other anchors, they will bring you authoritative, timely and accurate news information in Chinese and English.”
As we know every technology has its limitations, the AI anchor portrays a very limited range of expressions plus the voice sounds artificial, But the machine learning technology is making improvements in this field and in future, these AI anchors will hard to distinguish from Human beings.
Still, this technology is creepy, fascinating yet Horrifying at the same time. It is strange that China is the first to introduce this technology when the Media is heavily censored and controlled by the Government, maybe they have more ambitious plans to replace Humans with Virtual news anchors.