A hot potato: There are fears that AI could impact many jobs, including, it seems, newsreaders. In India, AI presenters appeared on TV for the first time in April, prompting concerns that these multilingual, cheap, and untiring anchors offer a better alternative for companies than their human counterparts.
The first of these generated humans that appeared was Sana in April. According to The South China Morning Post, the AI reads highlights on Hindi-language news channel Aaj Tak, owned by one the country's largest media houses.
After Sana's arrival, another AI chatbot presenter, this one called Lisa, appeared on East Indian station Odisha TV, reading the headlines in the local language of Odia.
Lisa could easily be mistaken for a real person when looking at a still image, but the stilted, monotone speaking, unusual blinking, stuttering image, and repeated hand movements make it obvious that this is an AI – she's like a modern Max Headroom.
However, the chatbots' ability to read the news 24/7 without needing a break, not require a wage like a human would, and speak many different languages in a country that has 22 official ones suggests AI newsreaders could become a common sight in India.
It's not just India that has introduced AI presenters. These types of digital humans are especially popular in China, which revealed what it claims was the first-ever AI news anchor back in 2018.
Other countries across Asia and the Middle East, including Indonesia, Taiwan, Kuwait, and Malaysia have also introduced AI news anchors.
It's unclear how much the use of these artificial intelligences has impacted human jobs. Aaj Tak owner India Today and Odisha TV both claim the chatbots are there to complement human presenters and journalists, and are not a substitute for humans.
"It's a question of more efficiency in the newsroom and enhancing the creativity of our staff by removing mundane and repetitive tasks. Sana can speak in multiple languages, switch between topics with ease, and is never tired," said Vivek Malhotra, head of marketing and strategy at India Today.
The next step is to train the chatbots to take part in televised debates.
India is seeing some of the fastest adoption of AI across multiple industries. Emad Mostaque, CEO of Stability AI, believes few professions will be hit as hard as the country's outsourced coders, most of whom will see their jobs wiped out by 2025.