The tradition of TV news anchors delivering our daily headlines may be under threat as AI technology advances. In India, one network is already exploring the use of AI-generated news anchors. Odisha TV recently introduced Lisa, an AI-generated news anchor, to read periodic news headlines for the network. Lisa is one of two multilingual chatbots that have been added to news networks in India in the past three months. The other AI-generated news anchor named Sana works for the network Aaj Tak.
While the developers have made efforts to make the AI anchors appear more human-like, their movements and expressions still tend to elicit an eerie feeling. These AI bots are always available, don’t get sick or tired, and won’t age, making them a reliable option for repetitive and mundane tasks. However, both India Today and Odisha TV claim that these AI chatbots are meant to complement their human counterparts, not replace them. Currently, Sana and Lisa are tasked with reading headlines during broadcasts or news programs and then handing them over to a human presenter. Sana is even being trained to conduct debates with human and AI panelists.
The reception of AI-generated news anchors has been mixed. Supporters appreciate the ability of these bots to provide news faster during critical times, the embrace of new technologies, and the language diversity they offer. On the other hand, critics raise concerns about artificial intelligence replacing human roles and the absence of human nuances in AI anchors.
An ethical conundrum arises regarding the potential racial and sexist discrimination that could occur if AI bots are created in the image of their human creators. Network executives have the power to decide the physical appearance of these AI anchors, leading to the possibility of excluding certain ethnic groups or physical features.
As AI technology continues to evolve, the role of news anchors may undergo significant changes. While AI-generated anchors offer advantages in terms of efficiency and availability, they also raise important questions about job security and the potential loss of human connection in news delivery.