Not Fake News
An upcoming news outfit called Channel 1 is launching its own network in February that it says will present the news almost entirely with AI-generated news anchors that it's presenting as strikingly capable and photorealistic.
The tech startup announced the launch date on Tuesday, sharing a 20-minute video demo on X-formerly-Twitter. It kicks off in much the same way your typical cable news channel might, but overlaying real images alongside AI-generated ones, and cutting between different AI personalities.
One stiffly assures the viewer that Channel 1's output is "not fake news." Rather than creating its own stories, says the AI anchor assuming the form of a man in a suit, Channel 1 will rely on content gathered from human-made, "trusted news sources" around the world, repackaged and personalized to each viewer's tastes and interests.
Even more strangely, Channel 1 will use AI to generate images and videos of events where "cameras were not able to capture the action." It likens this to how a courtroom sketch "is not a literal depiction of actual events" but helps audiences understand them.
In its demo program, Channel 1 uses mostly real news footage and b-roll taken from other sources. When an AI-generated image is shown, it's clearly indicated with a disclaimer that appears in the top right of the screen.
More impressively, the technology is leveraged to translate speech while keeping the voice of the speaker. One example shows a man explaining something in French in the original footage, and then afterwards speaking English in a convincing synthesized voice that sounds a lot like his own.
Another fake presenter in the video heralds Channel 1's "unique new way" to instantly gauge public sentiment through its "emoji meter." It uses the upcoming release of Tesla's Cybertruck as its guinea pig.
"I quickly read the most recent 30,000 tweets posted to X about the Cybertruck," says the fake presenter, showing a breakdown of all the emojis used in the tweets. "Sentiment on the vehicle is indeed very mixed."
The platform will debut on X and other streaming platforms as what sounds like a somewhat traditional program based on different regions and languages.
The ultimate goal, however, is to release a smartphone app that will allow Channel 1 to be fully personalized for each user, who can choose their favorite topics and even favorite fake news personalities. This stage of release is set for next summer.
Channel 1's reporting won't be run completely hands-off. Human editors and producers will be involved "in checking the stories for accuracy and clarity at every step of the process." If Channel 1 eventually achieves the levels of personalization it purports it will, around the clock fact-checking sounds like a tall order for its behind-the-scenes staff.
All told, what we've seen so far is undoubtedly interesting — but it's worth noting though that this wasn't a live demo, so we don't know how well the finished product will hold up during its actual live "broadcasts."