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2 weeks ago
Reuters Uses AI To Prototype First Ever Automated Video Reports

Originally published in Forbes, Feb 7, 2020

AI is coming for journalism. But rather than simply being used to take jobs from writers, Reuters has now shown that it can enhance the scale and personalization of news in ways previously unimaginable. Today, it has announced a prototype for a world first: a fully automated, yet presenter-led sports news summary system.

Developed in collaboration with London-based AI startup Synthesia, the new system harnesses AI in order to synthesize pre-recorded footage of a news presenter into entirely new reports. It works in a similar way to deepfake videos, although its current prototype combines with incoming data on English Premier League football matches to report on things that have actually happened.

“The system has two parts,” Nick Cohen–Reuters’ Head of Core News Products–tells me. “Firstly, we use an algorithm to combine Reuters real-time match photography and reporting with a minute-by-minute data feed of what has happened in the game. This allows us to automatically generate a script for any match report, combining the words describing the event with the relevant picture.”

Reuters already uses algorithms and live data to create text-based summaries of football matches and other sporting events. However, as Cohen explains, the difference with their new system is that it combines with Synthesia’s AI-based synthetic media platform to synthesize videos of a human presenter reading match reports.

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