We would not blame you if you mistook them for real newscasters.

News anchors come in many forms with different personalities, from witty presenters who can deftly ad-lib through technical hiccups to stoic commentators who maintain professionalism even during massive nosebleeds.

But Chinese news agency Xinhua introduced a new breed back in November last year, revealing the world’s first artificial-intelligence-driven news presenter. Modeled after a real anchor in Xinhua and jointly developed by search engine company Sogou, it boasted linguistic abilities that rival the best in the industry.

▼ This English A.I. newscaster looks so real.

Everything from subtle head movements to tiny flicks of the eyebrows transformed what would otherwise be a robotic model to life, almost as if a real human was talking.

From what the video suggests, it appears that typing out texts for the program is all that is needed for the A.I. to start presenting like a professional news anchor.

▼ Here is a female version called Xin Xiaomeng who speaks in Mandarin.

The A.I. models are by no means perfect, as exemplified by the blurred mouth movements that seem at odds with the rest of their bodies. Nevertheless, it is astounding progress that can only improve as technology advances with time.

A few months after its first unveil, Xinhua upgraded its male A.I. program and made vast improvements to facial expressions and hand gestures, going so far as to let it adopt a standing posture instead of merely sitting down.

▼ It even has a name now, called Xin Xiaohao.

▼ Just remember to button up your jacket, Mr. Xin.

Precise and accurate, these tireless A.I. newscasters mark a new age in the news industry. While it is still too early to say that they will replace human presenters who tend to make careless mistakes on air, there may come a time in the far future where everyone we see on TV is actually a highly intelligent robot and program.

Images: YouTube/New China TV
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