China state news agency increases its line of virtual employees by welcoming first female AI anchor

China’s state-run press agency introduces its first female artificial intelligence (AI) newscaster to its existing team of virtual presenters. The female AI anchor will mark her debut in March when the meetings of the country’s national legislature and top political advisory body take place.

The AI anchor was presented to the media by Xinhua at a press conference on Tuesday and claims to be a replica of the agency journalist Qu Meng.

Developed by Xinhua and Search Engine Company, the AI anchor is able to mimic texts as naturally as a professional is.

The Chinese digital newscaster’s clan includes the English-language anchor Zhang Zhao and his Chinese-speaking counterpart Qiu Hao who were introduced to the public at the World Internet Conference in November 2018.

Xinhua also unveiled a revamped version of Qiu Hao, named Xin Xiahao who has the ability to read news standing up and gesticulate in a natural manner.

An advanced AI system has been used in the making of these presenters who are capable of mimicking human voice, lip movements, and even presenters.

The digital anchors offer several benefits for the news agencies. Predominantly, they are available 24 hours a day and despite the cost that goes in its investment – they reduce news production costs. Xinhua claims that digital reporters have also proven to be more efficient during breaking news reports.
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Since their hiring in November, the AI reporters have published more than 3,400 reports totaling over 10,000 minutes in length.

China has become one of the leading hubs for AI development and recruited several digital employees in different industries including finance, healthcare, and manufacturing.

According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, implementing AI in China’s workplaces can add 0.8 to 1.4 percent to gross domestic product (GDP) growth annually.

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