by Andrew Cochran
A 3D AI news anchor is the latest in a steady evolution of ‘vocational avatars’ in China. The AI figure is produced by Sogou, a Chinese search and internet company, which has pioneered AI news figures in association with Zinhua TV, the state-run news channel.
Like its predecessors, this AI presenter is modelled after a well-known newsperson.
It replicates the appearance and mannerisms of Zhao Wanwei, a Zinhua reporter. All of the AI news anchors work from input text. They are promoted for their ability to ‘work tirelessly.’
- Sogou has previously shown four AI news presenters, two males and two female, each based on known news personalities.
- The first two were shown by Sogou in November, 2018. Three months later, upgrades appeared in the smoothness of the presentation, including hand gesturing, along with the announcement of the first female AI presenter. Sogou’s fourth figure, another female, was developed as a gift to Russia.
- Other AI-generated news figures include one in development by Sogou for Abu Dhabi Media, and an AI anchor on Thai TV, apparently not produced by Sogou and similarly based on a well-known Thai journalist. There also is a ‘digital twin’ sports presenter on Reuters TV.
Information provided by the company is unclear on how the figure is executed, for example, as a 3D rendering or using robotics. A company release says its 3D anchor uses ‘cutting-edge algorithms and high-fidelity 3D technologies used in movie productions to create the 3D avatar.’
- The company says it uses ‘multi-modal recognition and synthesis, facial recognition and animation, and transfer learning, (which) allow the avatar to intelligently imitate human voices, facial expressions, lip movements, and mannerisms with only text inputs.’
- Elsewhere it says the figure can ‘walk around during a broadcast’ and ‘in the future, I will walk out of the studio.’ No first-hand accounts of the figure are evident in online reporting.
‘Compared with previous generations of Sogou’s AI News Anchors, the 3D AI News Anchor communicates visual and audio information more naturally and smoothly in real time and in a real-life setting’Sogou press release
SEE ADDITIONAL STORIES
- Chinese state news agency unveils ‘the world’s first 3D AI anchor’ after ‘cloning’ a human reporter
THE DAILY MAIL | May 21, 2020 | by Emilia Jiang
- China’s latest AI news anchor mimics human voices and gestures in 3D
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- China State-Run News Agency Introduces The World’s First 3D AI-Powered News Anchor
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- Sogou Introduces World’s First 3D AI News Anchor (COMPANY PRESS RELEASE)
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