China AI News: Xinhua Launches World’s First Robotic News Anchor

China's AI News Anchor
China launched an AI news anchor who is capable of delivering news 24 hours a day. (Photo: World Internet Conference/Facebook)

China's state-owned news agency, Xinhua, launched what it claims to be the world's first news anchor with artificial intelligence. The AI news anchor made its debut at the Fifth World Internet Conference in China's Zhejiang province.

The robot news anchor was designed after a male broadcaster. His voice, facial expressions, and actions were that of a real person. Xinhua said the AI learned the rope of news delivery by watching live coverage of other real anchors. The AI can also interpret texts on its own. While the AI was pre-programmed with texts, the AI appears to be reading news scripts via a real teleprompter.

Xinhua said the English-speaking robot news anchor is an official member of its news team. The AI will be delivering news 24 hours a day on Xinhua's official website and across its social media channels. This way, the news agency cut production costs while improving news competence.

In the launching video during the World Internet Conference, the AI said his voice and appearance were designed after Zhang Zao, a real-life news anchor in Xinhua. The AI also took the opportunity to highlight how the revolution of the media industry needs innovation and deep integration of technology.

"I look forward to bringing you to brand new news experience," the AI said in the video.

The World Internet Conference is an annual event intended to promote China as the world's leader in technology and artificial intelligence.

Ultimately, the Asian superpower aims to become the world's Premier AI Innovation Center by 2030. Under the vision, China hopes to make its economy more innovative, its military technologically advanced, and its influence spread globally.

Countries around the world are racing to be the number one player in the future of the AI industry. At present, the United States is leading the race with China closely at second.

Other countries such as Canada, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates are racing against each other to be number 3. These three countries announced plans for AI-related efforts, industrial development, and infrastructure upgrade. For instance, UAE has appointed a Minister of AI in 2017.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was once quoted as saying: "Whoever becomes the leader in AI, will become the ruler of the world."

Meanwhile, China has been constructing an AI-run technology park with a budget of $2.1 billion. Tianjin, a city which is hours away from Beijing, is also raising $5 billion to jumpstart its own AI development.

There are also more than 200 Chinese startups that received a total of $4.5 billion from investors between 2012 and 2017, according to a white paper published by Kai-Fu Lee who previously worked with Google and Microsoft.

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