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Watch: China unveils the world’s first A.I. news anchor
China's state-run news agency and the search engine company Sogou have developed an artificially intelligent news anchor that can read the news "tirelessly" 24 hours a day.
- The A.I. anchor was based off of a real-life anchor and is able to read any text it's given.
- It looks realistic, but its movements are slightly awkward while speaking.
- The developers suggest the technology could someday be used for other purposes besides journalism.
The newest anchor at China's Xinhua News Agency looks and talks like a human, but is in fact an A.I. that can report the news "tirelessly" 24 hours a day.
Developed by the state-run agency and the search engine company Sogou, the artificial anchor made its debut on November 7 at China's annual World Internet Conference.
"Not only can I accompany you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, I can be endlessly copied and present at different scenes to bring you the news," the A.I., whose appearance is based off of a real news anchor at the agency, said.
"I, who was wholly cloned from a real-life host, have mastered broadcasting as well as the real host. As long as I am provided with text, I can speak as a news host."
Xinhua AI anchor, launched on Wednesday, starts presenting news reports from Thursday. In this program, he takes yo… https://t.co/NcS9wDmuyz— China Xinhua News (@China Xinhua News)1541653952.0
It may look realistic when still, but the fake anchor looks a bit awkward while speaking. Some called it creepy, unnatural. Michael Wooldridge, professor of computer science at the University of Oxford, told the BBC it was "quite difficult to watch for more than a few minutes."
"It's very flat, very single-paced, it's not got rhythm, pace or emphasis," he said.
However, it's likely those problems will be sorted out as the technology evolves. Xiaochuan Wang, the head of Sogou, suggested the technology could someday be used for other purposes besides journalism.
"In the future, it could be your parents telling the story," he said in an interview.
Still, there might be an inescapable flaw in the idea of A.I. anchors or story-telling parents, as Noel Sharkey, emeritus professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield, told the BBC.
"The problem is that it could be very dull," Sharkey said.
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
A study looks at the ingredients of a good scare.
Catching fear in a bottle<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYyNzg1Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyOTQwMTcyMn0.WtpJ1E_dhK2o09fBpKARynj4_p5NXeklgsXsbd7xr9w/img.jpg?width=980" id="8ff51" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f10dd9188b173f4a36e85e9325507c6b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Credit: Photo Boards/Unsplash<p>Previous studies have tracked physiological signs of fear arousal, but none have established a one-to-one correlation between that arousal and specific, actual fear events.</p><p>Andersen says that much of the research has been conducted in lab settings with weak fear stimuli, observing subjects as they experience things like scary videos. Scares in these situations tend to be weak and difficult to measure. Even harder to track in these situations is the link between enjoyment and fear. </p>
Eyes everywhere<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/109695164" width="100%" height="480" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="267ba87cfb8591ed5830499574d2272a"></iframe><p>Andersen and his colleagues conducted their experiments at <a href="https://dystopia.dk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Dystopia</a> Haunted House, a commercial attraction in Vejle, Denmark constructed in an old, run-down factory. The Recreational Fear Lab has a long-standing partnership with the spook shack.</p><p>They outfitted 100 volunteers with heart monitors and sent them on their terrifying way through the 50-room horror mansion. The facility incorporates a number of fright mechanisms including frequent jump scares in which a sudden threat takes a visitor by surprise.</p><p>Researchers surreptitiously observed their participants on closed-circuit video as they made their way through the attraction. They tracked each individual's scares, scoring them for intensity according to their visible reactions. After exiting the attraction, individuals self-reported their experiences in the haunted house.</p><p>Combining these self-reports with observer notes and each participant's heart-rate data gave the researchers subjective, behavioral, and physiological insights into the ways in which fear is experienced, and when it's a good thing or not.</p>
A pair of inverted U-shapes<p>In analyzing their data, the researchers saw two separate inverted u-shape curves. One depicted participants' enjoyment based on their self-reports and observed behavior. A similar u-curve was detected in their heart rates showing that just the right amount of heartbeat acceleration is associated with fun, but too much is too much. It's the terror Goldilocks zone.</p><p>Says Andersen, "If people are not very scared, they do not enjoy the attraction as much, and the same happens if they are too scared. Instead, it seems to be the case that a 'just-right' amount of fear is central for maximizing enjoyment."</p><p>The research suggests that being scared is enjoyable when it represents just a quick minor physiological deviation from one's normal state. When it goes on too long, however, or triggers too severe a physiological change, it becomes disturbing. Game over.</p><p>Andersen notes that this is not dissimilar to the factors known to make interpersonal play enjoyable: just the right amount of uncertainty and surprise. These are, maybe not coincidentally, also the ingredients of a successful joke.</p>
A meteorite that smashed into a frozen lake in Michigan may explain the origins of life on Earth, finds study.
- A new paper reveals a meteorite that crashed in Michigan in 2018 contained organic matter.
- The findings support the panspermia theory and could explain the origins of life on Earth.
- The organic compounds on the meteorite were well-preserved.
Meteor streaks through Michigan sky<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="80b7f30820153b35fc515592d7475f53"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EPu2qnqMYBo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The meteorite that smashed into Strawberry Lake carried pristine extraterrestrial organic compounds.
Credit: Field Museum