In November, Xinhua and Sogou unveiled the first AI news anchors of any gender, a pair of male AIs trained to deliver the news in either English or Chinese. The same day they unveiled Xin, Xinhua and Sogou announced that they'd given these AI anchors the ability to stand and talk simultaneously, and they'll show off that new ability while covering the Two Sessions alongside their female counterpart. When Xinhua debuted their first AI anchors in November, the news agency claimed that each anchor could "work 24 hours a day on its official website and various social media platforms, reducing news production costs and improving efficiency." Since then, the anchors have delivered 3,400 news reports while logging 10,000 minutes of screen time, according to Tencent News.
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SHANGHAI – China's state-controlled news broadcasters have long been considered somewhat robotic in their daily recitation of pro-government propaganda and a pair of new presenters will do little to dispel that view. Calling it a "world first," the Xinhua News Agency this past week debuted a pair of virtual news anchors amid a state-directed embrace of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence. Based on the appearances of two flesh-and-blood Chinese news presenters, the computerized avatars read out text that is fed into their system, their mouths moving in tandem with the reports. Xinhua said the "AI Synthetic Anchors," one for Chinese and one for English news, were developed along with Sogou Inc., a Beijing-based creator of search engines and voice-recognition technology. China last year unveiled plans to become a world leader in AI and other high-tech fields, though it has since toned down the rhetoric amid a trade war with the United States, which has included accusations by President Donald Trump that China steals U.S. technologies.
The robots are coming for your jobs, too. China's state news agency has debuted a virtual anchor designed to be able to deliver the news 24 hours a day. Xinhua unveiled its "artificial intelligence news anchor" this week at an internet conference in the eastern city of Wuzhen. "Hello, you are watching English news program. I am AI news anchor in Beijing," the computer-generated host announced in a robotic voice at that start of its English-language broadcast.
Buried within Laila Lalami's entertaining essay ["The Power of Procrastination," June 24] are the words "the blank screen." For years, well-intentioned friends have urged me to use a computer instead of writing longhand on yellow lined paper, because, they say, "it is faster." That's why I don't do it. I want to savor each word, shape each sentence and luxuriate in the sound of my writing. Tomorrow, may I suggest, Lalami might like to return to the way the majority of us continue to write -- with paper and pen.