And finally, a fake newsreader for China's real news

And finally, a fake newsreader for China's real news

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

China has got its first Artificial Intelligence (AI) news anchor. The anchor, dressed in a pin-striped suit with a red tie, nods his head in emphasis, blinking and raising his eyebrows slightly.

Anyone who's played Deus Ex: Human Revolution will recall the Picus news agency that used an AI news anchor to propagate propaganda of the comms agency behind the news firm.

"He" as he's known, is the world's first artificial news anchor.

A screenshot of Xinhua's first English AI anchor.

Sogou, a major Chinese search engine, assisted with development. The AI are "cloned" from real-life anchors, according to Xinhua's report, sporting the same faces and voices.

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The anchors premiered on Wednesday at the World Internet Conference in China.

Given that Xinhua is reputed to already be tightly controlled by the Chinese administration, with strictly followed scripts and closely monitored flow of information, one wonders what adding AI to the mix will do.

Xinhua points to what it sees as certain advantages of an AI anchor, saying it "can work 24 hours a day on its official website and various social media platforms, reducing news production costs and improving efficiency".

This week, China's state news agency Xinhua revealed a news anchor that appears human, but that was developed using artificial intelligence.

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.

Oxford computer science professor Michael Wooldridge told the BBC that the anchor fell into the "uncanny valley", a term which refers to when avatars or objects look like humans but feel subtly unnatural, and are therefore uncomfortable to watch.