04:12 GMT17 February 2020
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    The developments came after China published its "Next Generation Artificial Intelligence (AI) Development Plan" last year, which stipulates that the country should ultimately become the world leader in AI by 2030.

    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.

    READ MORE: China Seeking Both Economic and Military Dominance by Use of AI – Prof

    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.

    READ MORE: Chinese AI Startup That's Not Worried About Trump's Sanctions

    Creating a more realistic virtual character will facilitate more natural interactions and enable this technology to become an even more integral part of everyday life," he underscored.

    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.


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