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Is there a Future for Live Newscasters?

Is there a Future for Live Newscasters?December 20, 2030 - The launch yesterday of the virtual realistic-looking human newscaster from Simple News gained rave reviews. Others have made several attempts earlier, but this sends the live newscasters in to a pretty shaky future.

Personalized presented news started to get popular with the spread and development of various online services 30 years ago. With the increase in television over Internet in the past decade, broadcasted news based on your own interests, international or local within any areas, with digital presenters have become the most popular way to consume news.

News shows with live newscasters have been around since the birth of network broadcasting in the 1940s, but have lately lead a languishing life next to the new trends. To have “real” people present the news has for some though been a guarantee of the authenticity of the news.

The technical and commercial success of the movie “Tickle” in year 2020 proved the possibilities to animate realistic-looking humans. The development of animated simultaneous lip-syncing has been the key to make an animated person trustworthy as a news anchor. Combining this with the latest text-to-speech technology makes Simple News’ version the most attracting so far. You can choose what kind of presenter you would like in regards to age, sex, race etc and there are also some celebrity presenters to choose from, like real presenters, actors and athletes.

Since we humans are so well trained to see human behavior in detail when it comes to movements, facial expressions etc, a combination with the trust and authority needed from a news anchor, have maybe made this the most challenging task in animation.

So, does this mean the end to live newscasters or do they have a future? There will probably be people that will continue to prefer the live newscasters for the knowledge of having a real person delivering them. But in the long run and with a wider spread of services like this, the live newscasters will be pushed aside to a small niche that eventually most likely will fade away.

The development of artificial intelligence also suggests a more interactive communication with news services in the near future, where you as a viewer will be able to ask the presenter questions related to the news, to get the background information that you feel is relevant to the news. This feedback from the viewer will also trigger the news service to update the viewer’s profile to deliver the news in an even more specific and personalized way next time.

Argument: News services are moving towards more automatically aggregated personalized news. This in combination with the increasing speed of processing information and decreasing cost will make it possible for virtual realistic-looking human newscasters.

Questions: What other features can the technology of virtual realistic-looking humans be used for? Can there be any negative effects of such a development?

By Pontus Edenberg
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