This week China's Xinhua agency introduced a new member to its news team. What's unusual about this presenter is that it's not actually a real person - it's a combination of a computer generated image and AI. The AI news presenter's appearance and voice are based on an existing member of Xinhua's news team. While the team at Xinhua still have some way to go before the presenter is indistinguishable from a real person, it's a good example of what is possible today at the confluence of AI and advanced CGI.

During the introductory newscast, the virtual presenter said "I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted", suggesting that it was actually a very sophisticated digital puppet. However, the Xinhua agency mentioned that the AI system leverages the Sogou search engine to "work 24 hours a day on its official website and various social media platforms" to obtain news content, thereby "reducing news production costs and improving efficiency". This suggests that the system is far more powerful than its introductory newscast suggested.

Today, there are more than 10 million native speakers for each of the top 80 most widely spoken languages, with a long-tail of 6,500 languages spoken around the world. Combining natural language translation together with personalised newsfeeds means that everyone could potentially have their own personal news presenter read them the news as and when it happens. As the processing power within mobile phones continues to advance, its highly likely that your mobile or tablet will eventually render then news exactly how you like to see and hear it.