First fully AI news anchors to launch on TV next year
A news channel has revealed that it will be the first to use fully AI-generated news reporters as early as February 2024. Los Angeles-based Channel 1 will use a mix of Ai generated avatars and ‘digital doubles’.
The announcement by Channel 1 has caused alarm in the journalism community, with some branding it “absolutely terrifying.”
Alec Lazenby, a Canada’s BC Today reporter, posted on X, saying, “This is utterly utterly terrifying. While the development of an entirely AI-powered broadcast is beyond impressive, it could have huge ramifications for an already depleted news industry and accelerate the loss of high-quality reporters and anchors.”
Channel 1 founder Adam Mossam stated he has no plans to exploit the technology. Rather he sees it as an inevitable development in AI. He told The Daily Mail he wants to “get out in front of this and create a responsible use of the technology.”
“The average person watches 25 minutes of news a night on cable, so that might be 9 or 10 stories,” Mosam said.
“If we can generate 500 stories and choose the right 9 or 10 for you, then we’re going to do a better job of informing you, showing you what you’re looking for in your allotted time.”
Mosam says that the channel will have complete transparency over what content is AI-generated and is mostly plugging the advantages. Advantages include the ability to translate spoken words into any number of languages at the push of a button.
One could argue that that could be done using real human anchors. So we have to ask, what are the real advantages? It all boils down to saving money and avoiding those pesky things such as providing good working conditions that people require. Using digital doubles also raises ethical questions, many of which were raised in the recent actor’s guild strikes.
Watching the clips on the website, the anchors are deceptively convincing. They have few repetitive ticks, and those tell-tale signs of deepfakes and AI gens, such as strange teeth and extra fingers, are not easily evident.
However, there is a certain lifelessness. You cannot quite put your finger on it, but it is there, nonetheless. As deepfakes and fake news become more of a problem, it will be difficult to know who to trust and what to believe.
Some news outlets, like Sports Illustrated, have already experimented with using AI to generate articles and have come under fire for such practices. We have already seen the panic and mayhem that can result from fake images and videos.
Not just a pretty face
News anchors may appear to be chosen for their glamorous looks, however they usually serve a purpose beyond just reading an auto-cue.
In institutions such as the BBC, for example, the news readers are journalists in their own right. They provide further analysis and critical thinking to ensure they are reporting as unbiased a story as possible.
In today’s world, this is imperative. Social media has been accused of creating a more polarised worldview due to its cherry-picking abilities on what it shows people. A news feed in which we only see the types of stories we favour could be very dangerous. No one wants to see victims of war or natural disasters, but these reports and images are what anchor us to our humanity and empathy.
*This article was written entirely by a human.
[via the daily mail]
Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe