China Unveils The World’s First 3D AI Anchor to Cover 'Two Sessions'

By Rakini Bergundy, May 28, 2020

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No job is truly safe with the rise of AI technology in the 21st century. For China’s most important political event of the year, state broadcaster Xinhua unveiled the world’s first 3D AI news anchor for the Two Sessions (两会) broadcast. 

The AI female presenter named Xin Xiaowei was modeled after Xinhua’s newscaster Zhao Wanwei, who covers current affairs. The use of AI anchors in China is not new, as Xinhua and other news agencies have previously used 2D AI virtual presenters which were limited by their stiff body posture and mobility. Chen Wei, general manager of Sogou AI Interactive Technology Department, remarked, “2D is slightly more realistic than 3D, but 3D is more flexible.”

1648-itzixrt1150374.pngXin Xiaowei up close and personal. Image via Sina Tech

The difference with Xin Xiaowei is her dynamic movement and range. Compared to her 2D AI predecessors who only sat or stood facing the camera, she’s driven by artificial intelligence which allows her to not only move, turn and walk, but you can even see individual strands of hair and pores. Sina Tech reports, “in high-def close-up shots, the skin, pores, teeth, lips, eyes and hair of the 3D AI synthetic anchor reach a high degree of fidelity.” In regards to speech, “the coordination between the voice and the details of her lip movements, and the movement of her facial muscles, the overall look achieved a high degree of naturalness.” Additionally, Xin Xiaowei can change makeup, outfits and hairstyles depending on different news scenarios.  

Watch below to see Xin Xiaowei in action (VPN off): 

The process to create Xin Xiaowei was meticulous and “extremely complicated.” Massive amounts of data collection were performed, with hundreds of cameras scanning 360 degrees of Zhao Wanwei in order to capture every micromovement. 

We’ll let you decide if you’re convinced. 

READ MORE: These 3 TV Anchors May Look Human, but They're Not

[Cover image via NetEase]

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