Watch this creepy AI anchor talk like a real person

Does something look… off? That’s because you’re not looking at a real person.

China’s state-run media Xinhua and Beijing-based search engine Sogou debuted two “AI composite anchors” — one each for English and Chinese viewers — at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen Wednesday. The AI are “cloned” from real-life anchors, according to Xinhua’s report, sporting the same faces and voices.

The program extracts and combines the features of human anchors from videos of their reporting, using their speech, lip movements and facial expressions. But there’s one difference: While human anchors work eight hours everyday, their AI clones can report news tirelessly 24/7.

“AI anchors have officially become members of Xinhua’s reporting team,” the publication said in its report, adding, “Together with other anchors, they will bring you authoritative, timely and accurate news information in Chinese and English.”

Xinhua’s AI anchors are doing their thing on selected distribution channels including the news agency’s English and Chinese apps, WeChat public account, TV webpage, and two Weibo accounts.

This isn’t the first time China has gotten creative with artificial intelligence, using it to catch wanted fugitives, identify people by their gait and, um, breed roaches.


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