“Hello everyone, I am the artificial intelligence news anchor on National Business Daily. I am the virtual twin of the original host. I have been running—reporting the news—undetected for 70 days now,” the AI news anchor N Xiaohei revealed itself to its television viewers on Dec. 20, 2021, after 1700 hours of a continuous live news broadcast.
On the same day, the Chinese state-controlled media National Business Daily (NBD) and the AI company Xiaoice jointly announced the official launch of their collaborative live news broadcasting TV programs run entirely by AI—the first of its kind.
The TV program is named “AI Business Daily.” It will broadcast financial news 24 hours a day, seven days a week, hosted by two AI news anchors—named N Xiaohei and N Xiaobai—technically supported by Xiaoice.
N Xiaohei and N Xiaobai are virtual replicas of two real-life news anchors—a man and a woman. The Xiaoice Framework uses data collected from the two real-life anchors to train its AI models. Meanwhile, Xiaoice Neural Rendering (XNR) technology makes the virtual humans’ facial expressions and body movements look real and natural.
AI anchors have appeared in China’s TV programs in the past, but they could be identified immediately back then. Since the test launch of AI Business Daily on Oct. 11, 2021, N Xiaohei’s Douyin account—the Chinese version of TikTok—has accumulated over 3 million fans despite the real person not appearing on air for 70 days. Xiaoice, in collaboration with NBD, has demonstrated its ability to develop virtual replicas that are almost indistinguishable from real humans through advanced AI learning and rendering technologies, according to the Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency.
According to the report, Xiaoice Framework’s small-sample learning technology allowed the two virtual humans to complete their training cycle in one week. Chinese business commentator Zeng Xiangling said that long training cycles were needed to train…