Chinese state media debuts 'AI' news anchors

This photo illustration shows a man watching an artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor from a state-controlled news broadcaster, on his computer in Beijing on November 9, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 10 November 2018
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Chinese state media debuts 'AI' news anchors

  • The AI anchor is part of a major push by China to advance its prowess in AI tech

WUZHEN, China: Chinese news readers may have some new competition — artificially intelligent robot anchors that can mimic human facial expressions and mannerisms while reading out reports.
The AI anchor, developed by state news agency Xinhua and tech firm Sogou Inc, was on display at the World Internet Conference in the eastern Chinese town of Wuzhen, drawing in curious passers-by.
The anchor, modelled on real-life Chinese news reader Qiu Hao and sporting a black suit and red tie, is part of a major push by China to advance its prowess in AI technology, from surveillance equipment to self-driving cars.
In another video presentation from Xinhua, a different robot presenter said it was his “very first day” at the news agency and promised to “work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted.”
At the Internet summit, Sogou marketing staff said it wasn’t clear when the technology would actually go into use, but crowds gathered nonetheless to take selfies with the digital anchor and Qiu himself who was at the event.
The conference is China’s top tech event of the year, and has in the past attracted names like Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet Inc. head Sundar Pichai.
This year’s iteration, however, which opened on Wednesday, was more muted and has a less glitzy global line-up, even as battle lines for control of the web have hardened amid a biting trade war between China and the United States.
Foreign websites such as Alphabet’s Google and Facebook Inc. are blocked in China, where authorities also tightly control online content and censor or punish those who post material seen as opposed to “core socialist values.”


Drake takes time out of Paris concert to ‘share prayers’ for victims of New Zealand terror attack

Updated 17 March 2019
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Drake takes time out of Paris concert to ‘share prayers’ for victims of New Zealand terror attack

LONDON: Hip-hop superstar Drake shared a message of support for the victims of the New Zealand terror attack during a concert in Paris on Saturday.
The “Hotline Bling” star took time out of his “Vacation Assassination” concert in the French capital to send out prayers for the 50 victims in the Christchurch massacre.
He said: “I saw some really terrible things happened in New Zealand, I just want to talk about it because a lot of my friends and a lot of people I work with are from a Muslim background.

“I want you to know, that when there’s terrible things going on in the world, you know, we can still look around this room tonight and see something beautiful because we’ve got all people of all races, all places, all religions and look, we’re in here showing love tonight.
“So, I want send my love to all the families that were affected. We’re praying for you and will spread more love just like this across the world. Paris, I’m proud of you all tonight. I love you all.”
The white supremacist terrorist responsible for the attack livestreamed 17 minutes of his rampage at the Al-Noor mosque in the city, where he sprayed worshippers with bullets.
Facebook, Twitter and Google scrambled to take down the video, which was widely available on social media for hours after the bloodbath.
The second attack took place at the Linwood mosque about 5 kilometers (3 miles) away.