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China’s state-run Xinhua News has debuted what it called the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) anchor. But the novelty has generated more dislikes than likes online among Chinese netizens, with many calling the new virtual host “a news-reading device without a soul.”
Analysts say the latest creation has showcased China’s short-term progress in voice recognition, text mining and semantic analysis, but challenges remain ahead for its long-term ambition of becoming an AI superpower by 2030.
Collaborating with Chinese search engine Sogou, Xinhua introduced two AI anchors, one for English broadcasts and the other for Chinese, both of which are based on images of the agency’s real newscasters, Zhang Zhao and Qiu Hao respectively.
In its inaugural broadcast last week, the English-speaking anchor was more tech cheerleader than newshound, rattling off lines few anchors would be caught dead reading, such as: “the development of the media industry calls for continuous innovation and deep integration with the international advanced technologies.”
It also promised “to work tirelessly to keep you [audience] informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted” 24/7 across multiple platforms simultaneously if necessary, according to the news agency.
Local audiences appear to be unimpressed, critiquing the news bots’ not so human touch and synthesized voices.
On Weibo, China’s Twitterlike microblogging platform, more than one user wrote that such anchors have “no soul,” in response to Xinhua’s announcement. And one user joked: “what if we have an AI [country] leader?” while another questioned what it stands for in terms of journalistic values by saying “What a nutcase. Fake news is on every day.”
Others pondered the implication AI news bots might have on employment and workers.
“It all comes down to production costs, which will determine if [we] lose jobs,” one Weibo user wrote. Some argued that only low-end labor-intensive jobs will be easily replaced by intelligent robots while others gloated about the possibility of employers utilizing an army of low-cost robots to make a fortune.
A simple use case
Industry experts said the digital anchor system is based on images of real people and possibly animated parts of their mouths and faces, with machine-learning technology recreating humanlike speech patterns and facial movements. It then uses a synthesized voice for the delivery of the news broadcast.
The creation showcases China’s progress in voice recognition, text mining and semantic analysis, all of which is covered by natural language processing, according to Liu Chien-chih, secretary-general of Asia IoT Alliance (AIOTA).
But that’s just one of many aspects of AI technologies, he wrote in an email to VOA.
Given the pace of experimental AI adoption by Chinese businesses, more user scenarios or designs of user interface can be anticipated in China, Liu added.
Chris Dong, director of China research at the market intelligence firm IDC, agreed the digital anchor is as simple as what he calls a “use case” for AI-powered services to attract commercials and audiences.
He said, in an email to VOA, that China has fast-tracked its big data advantage around consumers or internet of things (IoT) infrastructure to add commercial value.
Artificial Intelligence has also allowed China to accelerate its digital transformation across various industries or value chains, which are made smarter and more efficient, Dong added.
Far from a threat to the US
But both said China is far from a threat to challenge U.S. leadership on AI given its lack of an open market and respect for intellectual property rights (IPRs) as well as its lagging innovative competency on core AI technologies.
Earlier, Lee Kai-fu, a well-known venture capitalist who led Google before it pulled out of China, was quoted by news website Tech Crunch as saying that the United States may have created Artificial Intelligence, but China is taking the ball and running with it when it comes to one of the world’s most pivotal technology innovations.
Lee summed up four major drivers behind his observation that China is beating the United States in AI: abundant data, hungry entrepreneurs, growing AI expertise and massive government support and funding.
Beijing has set a goal to become an AI superpower by 2030, and to turn the sector into a $150 billion industry.
Yet, IDC’s Dong cast doubts on AI’s adoption rate and effectiveness in China’s traditional sectors. Some, such as the manufacturing sector, is worsening, he said.
He said China’s “state capitalism may have its short-term efficiency and gain, but over the longer-term, it is the open market that is fundamental to building an effective innovation ecosystem.”
The analyst urges China to open up and include multinational software and services to contribute to its digital economic transformation.
“China’s ‘Made-in-China 2025’ should go back to the original flavor … no longer Made and Controlled by Chinese, but more [of] an Open Platform of Made-in-China that both local and foreign players have a level-playing field,” he said.
In addition to a significant gap in core technologies, China’s failure to uphold IPRs will go against its future development of AI software, “which is often sold many-fold in the U.S. than in China as the Chinese tend to think intangible assets are free,” AIOTA’s Liu said. (VOA)
Sports betting has been around for centuries for the audience to not only watch the sport but to get more deeply involved in the match. It is a fun and often profitable activity for the viewer to win some extra fortune or simply get some extra sweat while watching the game. At first glance, sports betting may look like it's pure luck, but when you indulge deeper into the activity you realize it is more of a calculative and research activity than just pure luck. We must note that yes, luck does play a certain role to some extend but a win is not completely dependent on luck, if you're putting your bets on a certain team you have to make sure to do some research about the players on the team, history of wins and losses of the team and compare the probability of winning and then place bets.
Even though sports betting has existed since the ancient era, it was not until recently that it became increasingly popular among the youth. This happened due to the legalization of the activity and the rise of online sports betting. The technological revolution has expanded the sports betting industry, offering the bettors new markets and ways to bet. The only major difference between online bookmarkers and traditional brick-and-mortar venues of sports betting is that now you can place bets online from your mobile devices, laptops, computers etc.
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Online sports betting allows the sports enthusiastic bettors to place their sports bet online from wherever they are on real-life happening sports events. For instance, if there is a match between Chelsea F.C. and Machester United in the English Premier League, you can place wagers on either of the team to win from your comfort space, on your device and if you correctly predict the outcome, you'll win money.
How to Bet on Sports?
Sport betting gives more thrill and involvement in the sport to the bettor.Istockphoto
Now that you understand the basic mechanism of sports betting, how and where should you place your bets? For new bettors, sports betting can be a little intimidating because you're putting real money as stakes and no one wants to lose it. Here are the steps to place your sports bets online:
Choose a betting site: The first step to placing your sports bets is to find a reliable sports betting site. BetRivers sportsbook is one of the most popular sports betting sites in the US which also has a mobile app. It has a solid design with intuitive navigation, user friendly and polished layout.
Sign up: After choosing the website, you must sign up and provide simple details like your name, email address, age etc. to verify your proof of identity and if you're legally allowed to start betting in the state or not.
Deposit money in your online sportsbook: Once you've registered an account, you can immediately deposit some money and place your bets on the sport of your choice. Most online sports betting platforms accept numerous deposit methods. BetRivers accepts various methods like online banking, Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, pay+, etc; and withdrawing money is as simple as depositing the amount.
ALSO READ: The Growth of The Sports Betting Market
Locate the market: Before placing your first bet, pinpoint the sports you want to place bets on, then select specific competitions or leagues that interests you the most. Then you need to find a team you want to bet on. Do some research on the odds and market. Once you've made up your mind you can bet your money on your prediction.
Place your first bet: Once you're certain about your bet, you're required to enter the amount you want to bet. Most sites give you a preview of how much a bettor stands to win in the bet slip. If you're satisfied with the odds, you can happily hit the button to confirm your bet and wait for the results.
Enjoy the game: The bet has been placed, the game has started, now all you need to do is sit back, relax and watch the game and let your bet come in.
Disclaimer: (This article is sponsored and includes some commercial links)
It is indeed good news that the book showcasing the wisdom of India in the eyes of Western intellectuals is getting due recognition and appreciation from other states and abroad. After Karnataka and Punjab, the Government of Assam has recently consented to translate the research-based book by Shillong-based author - Shri Salil Gewali titled "Great Minds on India". The Chief Minister of Assam - Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma was amazed to know that so many top western scientists and philosophers have drawn a considerable amount of inspiration from ancient scriptures of India, particularly in the studies of modern physics, linguistic and astronomy. In the recent meeting with the author, the Chief Minister had highly appreciated Gewali's book and promised to read it thoroughly. Gewali's book was also approved for translation in the year 2020 by the former Chief Minister – Shri Sarbananda Sonowal but due to COVID-19, the translation work was delayed.
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Furthermore, the two scholars from Canada --- Dr Hema Murty -- Air Space Engineer at the University of Toronto, and Dr. Harsh H Thakkar of Sheridan College of Brampton, Ontario have sought permission from Mr. Gewali for the translation of 'Great Minds on India' into the Sanskrit language. After the translation, the Sanskrit edition will be published and circulated and utilized by Samskrita Bharati of Canada, besides its other branches in India, USA and UK. Gewali says that the book that has been praised by countless scholars and publication by the Government of Karnataka and Punjab has so far been translated into thirteen languages, including German.
'Great Minds of India' by Salil Gewali is an impressive compact book discussing the power that Indian ancient wisdomFile
A university scholar from Winchester, United Kingdom - Ms. Janet Murphy remarks:
" 'Great Minds of India' by Salil Gewali is an impressive compact book discussing the power that Indian ancient wisdom, thought and way of life had an impact on western minds, especially those who are of great historical significance, such as Voltaire, Albert Einstein, Ralph Emerson, Julius Robert Oppenheimer, Mark Twain, HG Wells et al. It is hoped all right-thinking scholars will find Gewali's work extremely applaudable."
BEIJING — Chinese organizers have confirmed participants in next year's Winter Olympics will be strictly isolated from the general population and could face expulsion for violating COVID-19 restrictions.
Vice mayor and Beijing 2022 organizing committee official Zhang Jiandong told reporters Wednesday that those taking part in the games beginning Feb. 4 must remain in a "closed loop" for training, competing, transport, dining and accommodation.
A strict Olympic bubble has long been on the books, but Beijing has now made it official in keeping with its zero-tolerance approach to the pandemic. Athletes and other participants will also be tested regularly for the coronavirus before and during the Games. Family, spectators and sponsors from outside the country will not be allowed to attend.
"All participants of the Games and our Chinese staff and volunteers will implement the same policy," Zhang said. "They will be strictly separated from the external society.
"Those who do not comply with the epidemic prevention regulations may face severe consequences such as warning, temporary or permanent cancellation of registration, temporary or permanent disqualification or expulsion from the competition, and other punishment."
All participants must have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to their departure for China.
China has enforced strict rules on mask wearing, quarantines and contact tracing that have largely succeeded in eliminating the local transmission of COVID-19, but imported cases and domestic infections continue to appear in daily reports.
"Indeed, epidemic prevention and control is the biggest challenge for us to host the Winter Olympic Games," Zhang told a news conference.
Wednesday marked 100 days until the Beijing Games. Organizers have held test events featuring international athletes at Olympic venues under strict conditions.
Japan imposed restrictive rules and an Olympic bubble during the July 23-Aug. 8 Summer Games in Tokyo, which had been postponed by 12 months because of the pandemic. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: China, Winter Olympics, Closed Loop, Epidemic Prevention