Arts & Entertainment

AI news anchors debut on South Asian TV channels

New Delhi, Jul 29 (EFE).- Female AI news anchors have debuted on several Indian TV channels offering content in any language or subject, around the clock and at a low cost.

Sana, the new anchor at Aaj Tak TV, is “bright, gorgeous, ageless, tireless,” the India Today group’s vice chairperson, Kallie Purie said at a launch event at a meeting in March.

Four months later Lisa followed on Indian regional news channel Odisha TV.

With a warm “Namaste,” Lisa introduced herself live on air speaking Odia — the language mostly spoken in the region — as “OTV’s and Odisha’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) news anchor.”

The two humanoids, which have been designed to meet widespread Indian beauty standards, can read news 24 hours a day, without a paycheck and speak several languages — which are all very competitive qualities in the 1.4 billion-strong country with 22 official languages.

Similar AI anchors have also reached screens in Bangladesh and Pakistan where they give several newscasts a day in different languages.

While the media sector has not delved into how this may impact the labor market, India Today, one of the most powerful Indian media outlets in the country, says the bots will complement the work of humans.

“Sana does not take away from the brilliance of real-life anchors, who will be mentoring her. Sana will have a human surrogate editor and hopefully company soon,” Purie said.

But the media group’s head of marketing, Vivek Malhotra, did admit that the bots could replace minimal tasks for reporters.

“It’s a question of more efficiency in the newsroom and enhancing the creativity of our staff by removing mundane and repetitive tasks. Sana can speak in multiple languages, switch between topics with ease and is never tired,” Malhotra said before adding that the AI anchor “never gets tired.”

The emergence of female anchors seeks to take over a terrain first colonized by Qiu Hao, the world’s first news anchor developed in 2018 by China’s Xinhua news agency.

Unlike Indian chatbots, Qiu is male, but like his colleagues, he is “tireless,” available around the clock and can be present in different scenes simultaneously.

After Aparajita’s TV appearance this week, Bangladesh Press Club vice president Rejwanul Haq told EFE that technology is taking work from many fields and that this will also impact the television industry.

“News presentation or reporting is creative work. It cannot be done by something artificial,” Haq said.

Aparajita, the new face of Channel 24 in Bangladesh, and Bangladesh’s first female AI anchor, is another “forever young,” polyglot and tireless woman.

Channel 24 CEO Talat Mamun told EFE that they decided to put the AI anchor live to keep up with new technologies that were rapidly changing the way news was broadcast.

“Artificial intelligence is already a reality. We cannot ignore this reality. To keep pace and adapt to the new technology, we have decided to introduce an AI-generated news anchor,” he said.

In Pakistan, Fatma, a young woman in a hijab-clad capable of reading various topics uninterruptedly, made her debut as the new anchor for the GNN channel.

Last weekend, the Discover Pakistan channel also premiered the first talk show featuring AI characters.

At the launch of the AI Talk show, channel director Kaiser Rafiq interacted with the new host, who is a recreation of the AI-created executive himself.

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