China's Xinhua News Agency has unveiled the world's first ever artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor at the Fifth World Internet Conference in the eastern city of Wuzhen.
At that start of its English-language broadcast, the computer-generated host said "Hello" in a robotic voice and added that "you are watching English news program."
In a separate video, the AI news reader pledged to "work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted."
The appearance and voice of the AI anchor, clad in a suit and tie, is modelled after Zhang Zhao, a real presenter at Xinhua News Agency.
Designed by the Chinese search engine Sogou to simulate human voice, facial expressions and gestures, the AI host is able to learn from live broadcasting videos by himself and "can read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor," according to Xinhua.
The news agency added that the virtual host "can work 24 hours a day" and will be used on the news network's website and social media platforms in order to "reduce news production costs and improve efficiency."
Sogou chief executive Wang Xiaochuan, for his part, touted virtual assistants which he said are quickly developing "as an efficient way to solve daily problems.
The creation of the AI news anchor is part of China's efforts to emerge as a high-tech powerhouse by notably becoming the world's leader in AI by 2030. The plan's first step is to catch up with the US on AI technology by 2020.