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Are AI-generated hosts the future of live streaming?

Are AI-generated hosts the future of live streaming?
A computer-generated avatar that can be used as a news anchor or live streamer. (Picture: iFlytek)

On a screen at an annual Alibaba event, a Taobao live streaming star was seen promoting products like eye drops and instant noodles. But it wasn't a real live stream -- it was a demonstration of an AI-generated avatar featuring the face and voice of Li Jiaqi, a Chinese influencer who has more than 6 million followers on both Taobao and Xiaohongshu

The tech behind the synthetic version of Li was created by AI company iFlytek, and it’s similar to the tech used to generate deepfake videos. While some Weibo commenters say the avatar looks lifelike, many also say that it has dead eyes and lacks the enthusiasm of the real live streamer.

China is actively exploring commercial use cases for synthetic media. With the help of tech company Sogou, state media outlet Xinhua created AI anchors based on real human anchors, but the fake ones can broadcast news 24/7. An app that lets users swap faces with celebrities also went viral earlier this month, triggering concerns about privacy.

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TikTok and other video platforms introduce anti-addiction mode

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Huawei opens world’s first flagship store
Huawei opens world’s first flagship store
Huawei’s first global flagship store opened its doors in Shenzhen on September 28. (Picture: Huawei)

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Tencent, Baidu join Amazon's voice assistant network
Tencent, Baidu join Amazon's voice assistant network
You might eventually be able to use your Amazon Echo to send messages on WeChat. (Picture: Elaine Thompson/AP Photo)

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2000
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Apple fixes squid, mosquito and abacus emoji in iOS 13
Apple fixes squid, mosquito and abacus emoji in iOS 13
Apple's old abacus emoji had a a 2x4 bead arrangement that was historically inaccurate. Apple also reoriented it to reflect how it would have been used with the beads on top and bottom. (Picture: Emojipedia)
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China will soon have new regulations on facial recognition payments
China will soon have new regulations on facial recognition payments
A Zhengzhou citizen paying on an Alipay face-scanning device at a drugstore in May 2018. (Picture: Xinhua)

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Alibaba’s new social media app wants you to scan your friends’ faces
Alibaba’s new social media app wants you to scan your friends’ faces
“Scan face and add impressions to know her,” says the app’s description on China’s iOS App Store. (Picture: Real如我)

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Vivo promises a $280 5G phone next year
Vivo promises a $280 5G phone next year
Vivo's new flagship, the Nex 3, has attracted attention with its 64-megapixel pop-up camera and a premium model that comes with 5G. (Picture: Ben Sin/SCMP)

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