Chinese TV channel hires robot as reporter

BEIJING (TIP): For the first time, a Chinese news channel has employed an artificial intelligence robot as a weather reporter on its live breakfast show, raising concerns among the country’s journalists as it could threaten their jobs.

“I’m happy to start my new work on the winter solstice,” robot XiaoIce said during her debut on Tuesday morning. Xiao-Ice is actually a piece of software developed by Microsoft using smart cloud and big data. In the first two days of her work, XiaoIce impressed many with her cute voice.

She also comments on big news events on Shanghai Dragon TV.

According to Microsoft, breakthroughs in text-to-speech artificial intelligence (AI) have helped Xiao-Ice score high points for linguistic naturalness, with hers being closer to the human voice than other speech synthesisers. Through unique emotional technology, she can make comments instantly based on weather data.

After her successful debut, people are worried that XiaoIce could cause traditional TV anchors and weather reporters to lose their jobs. Song Jiongming, director of TV news for the Shanghai Media Group, pointed out that human anchors will not be completely replaced by XiaoIce in the near term, but the robot will supplement humans with big data analysis capability.

Robot reporters could easily replace a lot of Chinese reporters like this nationwide, a Chinese journalist said. “I’ve heard about robot reporters for a long time, but thought they only operated in the United States and Europe,” Li Wei said, adding that “I’m not ready to compete with them yet.”

In September this year, Chinese social and gaming giant Tencent published its first business report written by a robot this, stroking fears among journalists.

The “flawless” 916 -word article, completed in just one minute by Dream writer, was released via the company’s online portal.


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