Xinhua, the state news agency of China, has announced the imminent launch of a new project to broadcast news around the clock with automatic dubbing from Chinese to English. Its main feature is that the news will not be read by people, but by their virtual colleagues, digital models controlled by special AI. This will make the entire news program cheaper, easier and more effective, according to government censors.
The appearance for the new announcer was copied from the real journalist Zhang Zhao, the voice is simply synthesized, without attempts to smooth out the acoustic effects that give out artificial speech in it. There is no talk at all about realistic facial expressions and gestures, but this information robot can voice any prepared news live on a simple command of the dispatcher. He does not need a salary, a convenient work schedule and he does not feel emotions.
The digital announcer would not have attracted much attention against the background of much more advanced virtual singers and actors, if not for one thing. Its creators are seriously talking about replacing people with such machines - not to save money for the sake of, but to maintain control over the information space. Censorship, in many forms, has long been the norm in China, and many lay people do not really care who will announce the weather forecast, the schedule of holiday events, the news bulletin - a live person or a robot.