China’s virtual newscaster

 

Xinhua, the official news agency of China, debuted an English-speaking artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor at the fifth World Internet Conference in Zhejiang Province. The video is a bit better than the English language audio which has a decidedly strange cadence and misses a few articles in the text-to-audio conversion.

Perhaps the input is Chinese Hanzi text directly to a machine translator and speech synthesiser.  It is not fluent English text to a synthesiser. In any case, the end product is fabulously weird. The synthetic version of the live Xinhua news presenter Zhang Zhao says, “Hello, you are watching English news program, I’m an AI News anchor.”  Have a look at the different video samples above and below.  It’s good, and it will only get better.  What the world really wants to know is, when can we see Zhang Zhao morph into Nicolas Cage?

 

 


This story is featured in the 16 November 2018 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.