The field of reporting and journalism has always been one that is based on extensive live coverage and wide reaches. But with technological breakthroughs reaching perhaps the tipping point, even news reporting seems to be meandering into the trails of technology induced intelligence.
Artificial intelligence has been making forays into every aspect of human life and career. Our reliance on technology in all spheres of life has manifested itself in myriad ways- from intruding upon our personal and private spaces to taking up our natural ability to think a bit more while jeopardising our chances at maybe a better living. Not to forget that artificial intelligence has already demerited the utility of man power, cutting off jobs meant for people by employing more and more tech driven machines.
Not so surprisingly, therefore, technology has made another headway into a realm traditionally dominated by human intelligence and perceptibility. It’s time for AI induced anchors to break the news of the times to you!
In a first of its kind endeavor to make news presenting a round-the-clock and less tedious task, China has come up with a major innovation. As the country’s state media revealed the world’s first AI news anchors, the stark reality has caught the world gaping. To rejoice or to not-as we grapple with issues of rising unemployment while celebrating the advances made by science- is the question of the hour.
Developed jointly by China’s state run media house Xinhua and Chinese search engine company Sogou, the anchor made the debut at China’s annual World Internet Conference on Wednesday. Pitched as the country’s very own Davos for technology and futurism, the conference in Wuzhen in southern China did pull off something unprecedented when it announced the two anchors for English and Chinese platforms.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) November 7, 2018
The development, no doubt, is interesting. Developed through machine learning and taught to simulate the vocalizations, facial movements, and gestures of real-life broadcasters, so as to present a “a lifelike image instead of a cold robot,” the technologically advanced news presenters can go about their job’ tirelessly’ as long as they are fed information into their system.
Read about China’s other advances in technology
Touted to drastically cut down news producing costs while building up on the efficiency, the appearance of these digitally induced reporters is like any conventional news reader. But the finesse is limited to the proper suit-tie categorisation of news anchors. The face stimulation is also pretty much realistic. And while even the delivery is quite decent for a first timer, the glitches in the execution are more than apparent.
First, the tone and pitch of news delivery seems too obvious after a point of time. The expressions interpreted are varied, yet you notice a similarity across all of its ‘experimentations’. Emotions can never be completely replicated by technology, and no matter how cutting edge the techniques might be, the refinement of looks only begins to hit you as a bit wooden.
Also, with jobs already at stake in the face of an ever expanding world population, we can’t really chance upon having to deal with technological intrusion in every field. And an evidently artificial voice and tone of news delivery only adds to the alienation of any sense of connect that news audience usually feel with familiar presenters.
Even user reviews have not been very encouraging. The stiff voice and unnatural pause have been spots of bother while the ruling out of intelligence from AI renders the news presenter as more of a digital puppet. And with China’s already stringent measures for curtailing freedom of the press, the development is more of a setback than a marvel.
The verdict is obvious- the technology is futuristic, the acceptance most probably is not.