China’s state news agency Xinhua has introduced its first artificially intelligent, three-dimensional news anchor, TheNextWeb reported.
Xin Xiaowei is modeled after one of the agency’s human news presenters, Zhao Wanwei, the outlet said, adding that search engine Sogou is one of the avatar’s co-developers.
Here’s a look at the 3D, AI news anchor:
Here comes Xin Xiaowei, the world's first 3D #AINewsAnchor.
Jointly developed by Sogou and Xinhua News Agency, she will report for Xinhua News Agency on the #TwoSessions, creating a new and dynamic viewing experience. pic.twitter.com/5Tok2Mm3Pl
— Sogou Inc. (@Sogou_Inc) May 21, 2020
In the clip, Xin Xiaowei speaks on set and says developers’ technology “employs multi-modal recognition and synthesis, facial recognition, and animation and transfer learning” that “allow me to intelligently imitate human voices, facial expressions, lip movements, and mannerisms.”
“In the future, I will walk out of the studio and bring you a refreshing news broadcasting style under various scenarios,” the avatar adds.
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The anchor is the latest in a growing gang of virtual presenters used by Xinhua. In 2018, the agency introduced a digital anchor called Qiu Hao, which used machine learning to simulate the voices, facial movements, and gestures of real broadcasters.
The following year, Xinhua unveiled a Russian-speaking version, which was developed alongside ITAR-TASS, a Russian news agency. The avatar was launched on the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Russia, which suggests there are political motivations for the work as well as promotional ones.
Xin Xiaowei’s first assignment is reporting for Xinhua on the Two Sessions, an annual congress of the Chinese Communist Party that began Wednesday, the outlet said.