China unveils worlds first ‘AI anchors’ to read its propaganda

Tibetan activists pictured protesting below China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency billboard in New York’s Times Square. Image: AFP
DHARAMSALA, Nov 9: The Chinese communist regime’s biggest and most influential official state-run press agency has unveiled the worlds first ‘AI anchors’ to read its censored news and propaganda. 
Xinhua, the Chinese state-run media organization has reportedly unveiled two AI anchors; digital composites created from footage of human hosts that read the news using synthesized voices to read its propaganda “tirelessly” working around the clock.
Xinhua AI anchors; English broadcaster (L) and Chinese broadcaster (R)

“Hello, everyone I’m an English Artificial Intelligence Anchor. This is my very first day in Xinhua News Agency,” the English AI Anchor whose voice has been modelled on the agency’s anchor Zhang Zhao says in his debut anchoring.

“I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted,” the AI Anchor of the Chinese state-run news agency; a country ranked 176th by the Reporters Without Borders out of 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index concluded.
The broadcasters, one for English and one for Chinese made their debut during China’s annual World Internet Conference which is underway from Nov 7 till Nov 9. Xinhua has reportedly created the AI Anchors in collaboration with local search engine company Sogou.
According to Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press 2017 report, China is home to one of the world’s most restrictive media environments and its most sophisticated system of censorship. The ruling CCP maintains control over news reporting via direct ownership, accreditation of journalists, harsh penalties for online criticism, and daily directives to media outlets and websites that guide coverage of breaking news stories.
Though China’s constitution guarantees its citizens freedom of speech and press, the murkiness of Chinese media regulations allows authorities to crack down on news stories by claiming that they expose state secrets and endanger the country.
Further, censorship guidelines are circulated weekly from the Communist Party’s propaganda department and the government’s Bureau of Internet Affairs to prominent editors and media providers.

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