IIRC the early version around 2005 or 2006 used the Half Life 2 engine, so you would have Alyx Vance reading the news with a gun strapped to her belt. At the time I remember thinking that this would be great when the customization options were enabled, as you could just get the news you want instead of the stuff you don't care about that takes up most newscasts today, as well as preferred visual and voice skins to handle the narration.
As someone who worked in broadcast news, I can say that most anchors do nothing more than reading from a script so this type of task is perfectly suited to replacement by a bot or AI or whatever you want to call it. Where it fails is the "banter" format that many U.S. local newscasts use and the ad hoc interviews that local and national anchors conduct with reporters in the field.
I can cite an earlier example, perhaps?
Back around '98 I was part of a 3d game project that had a dynamic news reader that moved his lips in accordance with a wav file being played. So, although 'not AI', it did do a realtime FFA on the waveform and 'guestimate' the shape of the mouth based on significant frequencies. Analysis of volume in the wav would trigger other movements (rocking backward), or increasing pitch might trigger eyebrow movements, etc. I recall that the 'wav' itself was stitched together from multiple wav snippets at runtime to give an accurate account of the game play that had just happened.
At the end of it all, it definitely satisfied the 'virtual anchor' as described here, and was all achieved with simple heuristics.
That said, I think I would've enjoyed being part of the virtual anchor team in the video.
Actually, where it fails is breaking news.
Former newsman here, too. And I remember staying on the air for 12, 24, 36 hours or more with no commercials during breaking news (hurricanes, flooding, etc...), and it's not something any AI will be up to in our lifetimes.
What could happen in these cases is there is some sort of "live desk" staffed by someone from the reporting staff when the need arises. Or, rethink the way breaking news is covered altogether ... does it really need a handoff back to an anchor?
Yes. While the anchor reads on-air, there are dozens of people behind the scenes doing other things. Some journalistic, some technical. All necessary and frenzied.
This isn't really the right medium to describe it all, though. During a serious news event, it can be quite the madhouse. I've never seen a Hollywood film that really captured it.
FWIW, I find that the macOS' Tom voice is remarkably good. I sometimes wonder if it's what NPR uses for some of its on-air messages, or if Apple's voice was just based on the same guy.
It does not have a lot of obvious artifacts that plagued older TTSes, but it actually is remarkably hard to understand.
If it went live, how long before a copy lands in the hands of pranksters?
Gamers will be forced to stream from cloud.
The notion that in six years general purpose GPUs will be strictly regulated as weapons, is pretty comical. It'll never happen.
In three or four years the improvemnet scaling will already be enough that whatever scenario you think must wait six years to justify strictly regulating GPU ownership, will already be possible. Absolutely nothing interesting is going to happen in the next six years that will require practically outlawing ownership of GPUs.
It's a non-issue for the next 10-15 years at a minimum. More likely it will never be an issue, because of the expertise that will be required. You can do nuclear technology research on your home computer, entirely legally. They do a pretty good job of keeping track of people capable of building nuclear tech. If AI becomes a similar risk, they'll do the same thing with the best minds in AI (ie track them). Very few AI developers will be able to build particularly dangerous AI applications, the counter thinking to that is fantasy based, a form of technology fear (which for 50+ years has failed to prove out time and time again; the technology fear ideology has failed so often and so spectacularly that it should be entirely discredited at this point).
Cryptography export laws shows there's already precedent for this.
If you have that one, then no regulated license will be necessary.
They read from a script, poorly. The video of the anchor is generated using ML, but there is no "intelligence" here, not even artificial.
It's good propaganda for China, but not much more right now.
"Real" or "human" news anchors don't? Asking because I really don't know, not to be pedantically poignant.
I can imagine this working well in a couple years, but today it’s a long way off.
It gets really wild when you can generatively create a movie just from the screenplay description and perhaps a set of storyboards. That will make the amount of crap video available explode uncontrollably.
A stressful job even to read propaganda afterall.
> A stressful job even to read propaganda afterall.
Yeah, I've been told these news anchors are expected to not make a single mistake in their speech or presentation during the broadcasts, and that they're timed so precisely that you could set your watch by them.
While your local news may not adhere to an absolutely precise schedule, most broadcast mediums are scheduled to the second. When a program starts, the anchor has exactly 15 seconds to fill. Roll a minute of ads. Then they have 3:45 to fill, etc.
Watch CNN or listen to a nationally syndicated radio show, and time it. You'll see that the entire thing happens with sub-second precision.
Oh how about the new buzzword anchor??
I hope that Zhang Zhao is getting a licensing stream for the use of his likeness. William Gibson was really ahead of his time when he popularized "synthetic personality constructs" as a mainstream literary trope.
Worrying therefore that such stuff may be just a few config variables away from being centrally controlled.
I'm actually a bit surprised that print news hasn't gotten to this step yet. Just the injection, removal, or substitution of certain words can completely change the meta-message of the news article.
Add a central authority and reprogramming people is as easy, as you've mentioned, as a few config variables.
It could even spark new industry as companies arise to create avatars for other public-facing entities where a real person is not required, like corporate PR spokespersons.
Hollywood has already started down this road by creating virtual stand-ins for deceased actors - there's no reason to consider that they won't just create one from the whole cloth within a few years.
It might not happen, but don't be surprised if it does.
Honestly, I don't see a lot of difference between them and the way Sean Hannity blatantly takes the Trump line. The difference is that in the US, there's diversity of press and so diversity of opinions. I'm not confident there was ever diversity of press in China in the first place, so I'm not sure how much this changes. Maybe if the entire press cycle gets completely automated with no human oversight at all, OK. But I imagine there will always be human oversight, just because they don't want things to go off the rails. That's what happens right now.
And if we reach the singularity, I'm sure an AI would have more guts to stand up and say what's on their mind than a human would.
I guess my brain immediately goes to the situation you describe with little/no human oversight. If the only layer of human oversight that does exist values control over truth, this is just one more layer of human intervention removed.
As an exercise in objective labeling - given Glenn Greenwald's reporting on the communications and friendships between Clinton staff and press outlets  - would all those those news outlets and non-pundit journalists immediately be considered state-controlled media had she been elected? I do not think so either.
I'm glad Americans have other, independent news sources. The problem with state-controlled media is not so much that it exists, but that when it does other options are often suppressed or eliminated in its favor.
At this point, the singularity is speculative fiction.
One would expect them to go through their demo clip before sharing it with the world!
The main takeaway is the realism of the news anchor through their implementation of the speech and lip moment synchronization - and how it may be a stepping stone towards a world where news delivery can be automated.
>A stressful job even to read propaganda afterall I guess.
They even created a thing called "People's Search Engine" though it flopped.
Also, anime girls.
Might as well just produce a deepfake anchor with Xi's ugly ass face instantly traumatizing millions of Chinese children, who knows how many falun gong infants were sacrificed to save the poor sick Chinese elite (they actually eat the fucking placenta for supposedly viagra effect jesus fucking christ im outta here never EVER gonna catch me going to China)
Pointing out the crimes of the PRC is not disrespectful.
Except, perhaps, to the PRC.
> Chinese people are human beings.
Nobody's saying they're not.
or people who has been unwittingly duped/brainwashed into buying that "China will overtake USA anytime now" propaganda.
it's not limited to race, I've definitely seen some white American dude shilling for China...smh
> The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said there was not enough evidence for the organisation to "either support or not support" placentophagy as there had not been enough research on the health benefits.
On the one hand I didn't want to post this because it kinda grossed me out and might ruin someone's day or something -- on the other hand, I "totally could see it being a thing in Asia", just because of the other powdered animal stuff; but wasn't aware of it being a thing, period, and I guess that would describe many people. And some of the sentences in that article are really quite something, oh my.
should add NSFL to that link.
im done with HN for the rest of the day.
> I "totally could see it being a thing in Asia", just because of the other powdered animal stuff; but wasn't aware of it being a thing [everywhere], period, and I guess that would describe many people
so I shared my, uhh, information, instead of just letting that stereotype kinda linger.
As far as it being a thing.. I'm pretty sure historically it's a really big thing. Protein is expensive for subsistence farmers. Too bad OP lost their lunch over it
I only wrote that the corrupt Chinese elite exploit the people including taking prisoners organs, prostitution, all sorts of human rights abuse.
but somehow it's been derived to that removed comment which implied that I didn't view Mainland China unfavorably, please don't try to conflate it with sinophobia, I haven't made that case at all, it's just apalling behavior from the Communist party of China that pisses me off because it pains me to see what my Chinese friends go through.
I said I considered it possible because of the powdered animals stuff . That's not even a statement about "what Asians eat", much less a generalizing one.
> It was a thinly veiled racism
I said I "totally could see it being a thing in Asia". Call that racism if you must, but there is nothing "veiled" here.
> I only wrote that the corrupt Chinese elite exploit the people including taking prisoners organs, prostitution, all sorts of human rights abuse
Yeah, and you put it like this
> the poor sick Chinese elite (they actually eat the fucking placenta for supposedly viagra effect jesus fucking christ im outta here never EVER gonna catch me going to China)
(anyone can turn on "showdead" and still see the comment, you know that, right?)
Sure, technically I guess "they" refers to the Chinese elite. Insofar I accept your correction. But still, way, I actually looked something up real quick that even you, who made the claim, apparently knew nothing about... and as I said, I only "shared what I found" because it refutes any stereotypes about only Asian or Chinese people doing that, heh.
Anyways, back to a vegan Alicia Silverstone eating her placenta; I find that by itself infinitely more fascinating than any of whatever this is.
Edit: oh nevermind, I can see the comment now. Shame on you.