China’s online Spring Festival gala uses AI hosts

(Photo/huanqiu.com)

The internet gala held by China Media Group in celebration of China’s Spring Festival, which is probably the most-watched TV program in the world, has this year introduced artificial intelligence (AI) hosts for the first time.

Four virtual hosts based on four different human figures were staged at the gala. These AI figures were not merely copies of the human hosts, as they had been incorporated with various AI technologies such as automatic learning, computer vision, natural language processing and voice synthesis. According to sources, the AI hosts could talk like real people, and what they said was not pre-programmed or dubbed.

After facial scanning of the human hosts and voice recording lasting half an hour, these virtual figures were created. This process enables the AI hosts to read or sing in the voices of their respective prototypes in up to four languages. With further data feeding, these virtual figures will acquire more skills and act more like their prototypes.

According to Nikhil Jain, CEO of developer ObEN, although the online Spring Festival gala showcased this new technology, he believes that “personal artificial intelligences” (PAIs) have even more potential, and could bring profound changes to society.

The company is currently creating AI-powered doctors, nurses, teachers and celebrities. For example, in medical services, virtual doctors and nurses could make suggestions and answer patient questions.