Channel 1’s photorealistic news anchors come in all shapes and sizes. They can all speak more or less any language, while evoking the stiff, formal body language familiar to anyone that still watches news on the TV. They’re even capable of making news-anchor-grade attempts at humor.
This will be a fully personalized, localized news aggregation service; Channel 1 isn’t using AI to produce its own news stories. Instead, it’ll round up human reporting by “trusted sources” around the world, then re-package it as fully narrated, hosted and edited news stories that’ll run together in a list curated to your personal topics of interest, complete with footage and images from the event, like a personal TV station.
This in itself would be revolutionary, but there’s a ton of extra capabilities available once generative AI is in charge. “In other cases,” says some anodyne, skivvy-wearing AI-generated tool, “it’s even possible to create footage of events where cameras were not able to capture the action. It’s the same way that a courtroom sketch is not a literal depiction of actual events, but can still provide important information or nuance to a news report.”
“Wherever AI has been used to add context,” it continues, “or in any way alter existing sources or actual depictions of events, on-screen graphics will clearly indicate the nature of the alteration. Human editors and producers are also involved in checking the stories for accuracy and clarity at every step of the process.”
As well as creating video footage and images to go along with reports, the AI can be used to translate eyewitness reports into any language, complete with appropriate lip movements, and maintaining the vocal character of the original speaker.
And the AI can also add its own analysis.
“Channel 1 has developed a unique new way to gauge sentiment,” says another fake presenter, “and it leverages our AI’s ability to read and analyze data almost instantly. I quickly read the most recent 30,000 tweets posted to X about the Cybertruck, and based on the emojis people have been using, sentiment on the vehicle is indeed very mixed.”
The system also appears to be able to pull in relevant context from stockmarket news and other live data feeds.
In a 21-minute video, Channel 1 introduces itself and gives an example of a news report, complete with appropriate background music, overlays and news footage.
Channel 1 will start out with daily news programs, “for countries and languages around the world,” but it’ll reach its full potential once it starts doing the tailored presentations through a smartphone app.
Make no mistake, folks, this is the future. A system like this will let you choose your own presenter, language and style. It’ll bring you stories tailored to your personal tastes, lifted from news giants like Reuters and the Associated Press, and re-packaged the way you like them, complete with up-to-the-minute information depending on exactly when you choose to watch it.
Personally, I’ve long been repulsed by most television news anchors; there’s something so fake and plastic in the way they look, speak and move. So I don’t even find it much of a jarring switch. The AI anchors’ mouths are synced up pretty well with their voices, and even if some of the hand motions are repetitive, distracting and mistimed against what they’re saying, these things will only improve from here as the technology develops.
You might even say that by making themselves as bland and free from character as possible, a lot of newsreaders have made it very easy for AIs to replace them – but realistically, there’s no reason why this service couldn’t give you a sarcastic option, or a whimsical option, or whatever style you prefer. I assume the “Mexican weather girl” option will be very popular.
But even if there are gleaming personalities out there that people will really miss, there’s simply no way a human-run newsroom is going to compete in the long run against a system that can deliver such personally-tailored stories, so quickly, and with up-to-the-minute updates and information. There still needs to be human reporters on the ground capturing footage and writing about things, but the rest of the process will be damn near immediate.
Naturally, there are implications for websites like New Atlas; the wind surely doesn’t look like it’s blowing in a great direction for anyone in media, particularly for sites like ours that don’t use any AI-generated content and have to slug stories out old-school style. So if you appreciate what we do, there’s never been a better time to support us directly with a US$19 annual ad-free New Atlas Plus subscription. A bargain at twice the price!
But this is far from the only industry facing revolutionary upheaval as generative AI starts flexing its muscles. Crazy times.