December 2018
12:09 PM IST
News Headlines
Aussies will fight back, but India has upper hand: Ghavri        World Tour Finals: Tough road ahead for Sindhu; Sameer too eyes knockout berth        Govt should consider 100% FDI in multi-brand retail trade: CII report        Shaktikanta Das named new RBI Governor        Khashoggi, other journalists named Time 'Person of the Year'        May tours Europe in desperate bid to save Brexit deal        Three policemen killed in Shopian by terrorists; weapons snatched        13 of 19 Rajasthan ministers lose elections; CM Vasundhara Raje retains her seat        Clear message to Modi that People are unhappy and it is time for change: Rahul on poll results        Cong leads in R'than, Chhattisgarh and MP; TRS races ahead in Telangana, MNF in Mizoram        Shakhtar prepare for home match 700 kilometres from home        AC Milan let Inter off the hook with Torino stalemate        Sensex cracks over 550 pts; Nifty drops below 10,600        Trump's potential next chief of staff pick leaving White House        UK PM faces fight for her political life in Brexit deal        BJP mocks Oppn meet, asks them to reveal PM candidate's name        RBI Governor Urjit Patel makes loud noise with silent exit        RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha resigns from Union council of ministers        1st Test: India in cruise control as Australia reduced to 104/4 chasing 323        Over 16000 runners take part in Pune Half Marathon        
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International News
Journalists beware: After Bloomberg bots, AI news presenter debuts in China
(Beijing, Nov 09, 2018):The idea that media jobs will be taken over by computer programmes has acquired a whole new dimension -- a visual one.

The Chinese have created a virtual news-reader -- a digitally created persona with chilling similarity to a human -- that presents bulletins without breaks, stress or a salary.

Early Monday, videos started doing rounds of Qiu Hao, the artificial news anchor, who, dressed in a suit and tie, is seen reading a 30-second bulletin. At one part, it says, "Not only can I accompany you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I can be endlessly copied and present at different scenes to bring you the news."

The footage, a "debut" as some are calling it, was followed up by all major international news publications, albeit with a pinch of perturbation.

This new digital marvel was created by Chinese state news agency Xinhua and search engine firm Sogou. It will be deployed "to cheaply generate news reports for the agency's TV, web, and mobile output", Xinhua said in a statement to South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based newspaper.

Its creators are calling it an "AI anchor" because the whole digital act is created not by CGI -- traditional animation -- but by a computer programme that scraped through millions of news bulletin videos, learning on its own and creating a persona, as close as possible, to a real news anchor, according to news reports.

Its creators used sophisticated artificial intelligence and machine learning to give it human-like attributes -- blinking of eyes, raising of eyebrows and lip synchronisation. All this with little or no intervention from a human programmer. Of course, the script is pre-fed. (It’s China!)

Xinhua, quoted in The Guardian, said the AI technology will not necessarily be limited to news presentation and may be customised for different clients in other industries.

While the Chinese state news agency sees it as a "breakthrough in the field of global AI synthesis", journalists, much like workers in other industries, are scared for their jobs amid AI's rise.

Bloomberg has also started using a bot to write standard corporate earning copies. This is likely to result in the retrenchment of staff, if it has not already.

What is more daunting than the Chinese news anchor is that there are two of them. The other one is English language "presenter" Zhang Zhao.

Khashoggi, other journalists named Time 'Person of the Year'
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Activist Rehana Fathima, Who Attempted Sabarimala Trek, Arrested Over Facebook Post
 (Kochi, Nov 28, 2018): Model and activist Rehana Fathima, who tried to reach Kerala's Sabarim
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BJP leader K Surendran, 71 others granted bail
Sabarimala protests: Arrests up to 2061, Kerala HC warns police
Three policemen killed in Shopian by terrorists; weapons snatched
 Three policemen were killed Tuesday when Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists attacked a guard
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Clear message to Modi that People are unhappy and it is time for change: Rahul on poll results
BJP mocks Oppn meet, asks them to reveal PM candidate's name
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