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Rise of the Virtual Avatars

McKenzie of the BBC continued, "Using machine assistance, we generated a story for every single constituency that declared last night with the exception of the one that hasn't finished counting yet. That would never have been possible [using humans]." 

Chinese media are apparent leaders in automated news. As we reported November 9, 2018, Chinese engineers had created a synthetic newscaster who automatically recited computer-generated news.  More recently, more virtual avatar applications have been announced in China by Sogou. Sogou’s “Yanni” was launched at the China Online Literature+ Conference held on August 9-11, 2019 in Beijing.  Sogou has partnered with multimedia and “cultural companies” such as the Xinhua News Agency, Migu, an online multimedia entertainment subsidiary of China Mobile, and Zhangyue Technology, developer of the “iReader” e-book reader. 

Yanni introduction and team photos courtesy of Sogou via BBC and Group shot:  Mr. Wang Yanfeng, General Manager of Sogou’s Voice Interaction Technology Center, and representatives of Xinhua News Agency, Migu and Zhangyue at the signing ceremony during COL+ 2019. Credits: news, and Sogou.