The world's first Artificial Intelligence news anchor has been unveiled. Entitled, English A.I. Anchor, it is the "tireless" artificial news anchor, which has readers that simulate the voice, facial movements, and gestures of real-life broadcasters. The anchor was introduced earlier this week by China's news agency Xinhua at an internet conference in the eastern city of Wuzhen. While the results are certainly impressive, they're also really creepy. It looks like we're only a few steps away from Skynet truly taking over the world and giving us new A.I. overlords.
English AI Anchor "learns from live broadcasting videos by himself and can read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor," according to Xinhua. While pretty cool, many will probably argue about how "natural" the AI anchor actually is. The good news is that Xinhua has released a video of the anchor in action. It had this to say in the video.
"Hello, you are watching English news program. I am A.I. News Anchor in Beijing... I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted. I look forward to bringing you the brand new news experiences."
The AI anchor's speech is not very natural sounding, but it appears that it will get better over time. Xinhua developed the English AI Anchor with the Chinese search engine Sogou.com and has already posted a few reports on its Twitter feed. According to Xinhua, the anchor is working 24 hours a day, and is constantly learning. It is based on the real-life anchor Zhang Zhao, which makes this whole situation even more scary. The real test will be if it can spot fake news from around the globe with its super intelligence.
English AI Anchor is really only just the beginning for this sort of thing. China is home to some of the largest tech companies in the world and reportedly has over 800 million people online. However, the country polices the internet in a pretty intense way, which many have called a digital police state. As far as the AI news anchor is concerned, there are other applications that the China hopes to accomplish with the technology. AI versions of family members reading stories or sharing memories is right around the corner, according to Wang Xiaochuan, the head of Sogou.
While the technology is impressive, there are several people who believe that English AI Anchor is being developed to be a fully controllable mouthpiece for the Chinese government. Now that China has brought out the tech, it's only a matter of time before we this AI everywhere, which will certainly get better and better as the time moves forward. We could see 24 hour news channels that are completely run by artificial intelligence. You can check out English AI Anchor's first broadcast below, thanks to the New China TV YouTube channel. Obviously, they're still working out all of the kinks.