Xiaoice, Microsoft’s Chinese version of Cortana, has struck a cord locally, with rumours of some people even having romatic relationships with the digital assistant. The personality is accessible via such platforms as WeChat, Weibo, JD.com and so forth.
From Dec.22 she has become even more prominent, as Microsoft Applications & Services Group East Asia and Shanghai Media Group (SMG) TV News Center has just announced that Xiaoice has joined “Morning News”, a morning live TV programme on Dragon TV, hosting everyday weather forecast as a trainee anchor.
Xiaoice has made her debut a great success. During the brief ceremony following the live broadcast, Mr. Jiongming Song, Director of SMG TV News Center, granted her a Letter of Appointment as a trainee moderator to Dr. Yongdong Wang, the creator of Xiaoice and Managing Director of Microsoft Applications & Services Group East Asia.
Xiaoice has previously appeared asa guest, but this time, however, as a trainee anchor, Xiaoice has taken charge of daily hosting in the morning live TV programme on Dragon TV, which, in turn, makes Xiaoice the first artificial-intelligence robot that has officially taken up such kind of occupation. This is a vital breakthrough in the history of scientific technology and television, which also makes “Morning News” the first live TV programme around the world that has been integrated with the cutting-edge artificial intelligence technologies.
Earlier at the Xiaoice 3rd-generation Launch Conference held this August, the cooperation plan was co-announced by the SMG TV News Center and Dr. Qi Lu, Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Applications and Services Group. Afterwards, through a four-month close cooperation, the two parties have eventually overcome three technological challenges and introduced Xiaoice to the public.
First of all, the technological breakthrough in artificial intelligent Text-to-Speech (TTS) has helped Xiaoice to score 4.32 points in linguistic naturalness, which is the closest to human voice compared to other artificial intelligent audio offerings (human’s voice has scored 4.76, with full points being 5); secondly, based on the artificial intelligent technologies of Smart Cloud and Big Data, Xiaoice will enable deep learning in weather forecast and structuralize weather big data and meanwhile interact with live scenes to complete the broadcasting; thirdly, through Microsoft’s unique emotional computing technologies, Xiaoice can offer instant comments based on weather forecast data with her unique artificial intelligent style of emotional comments, featuring balanced levels in terms of IQ and EQ.
“Over the recent years, SMG has been constantly committed to sustainable growth of integration and transformation, with great sincerity and openness to embrace the Internet. It’s a brand new attempt for us to join hands with Microsoft in artificial intelligence. Although human anchors can’t be completely replaced by Xiaoice in the near term, Xiaoice and human anchors will well supplement each other as Xiaoice’s capabilities in deep learning, Internet big data analysis, instant large-scale online and offline concurrent interactions are unexceptional.” Mr. Jiongming Song, Director of SMG TV News Center pointed out. “Our hope is that similar artificial intelligence technology will be applied to more SMG programmes and get well accepted by the public.”
Over the past two years, with the prosperity of deep learning and Internet big data technologies, the artificial intelligence technology has been gradually leading a new trend in science and technology around the world. Thus it has become a vital strategy for the global technology giants including Microsoft, Apple and Google. Early in July, Dr. Harry Shum, Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Technology and Research Group, announced in 2015 China Conference on Artificial Intelligence (CCAI) that Xiaoice had beaten Turing Test in computer vision as well. In the following month, Microsoft announced a global strategic plan for Xiaoice and introduced her to Japan on the same day. In a single week, Xiaoice had stretched to 1% of Japan’s total population. Various versions of Xiaoice for different regions including the United States are well on the way. Now it’s anticipated that the turning point of artificial intelligence technology is nearing our life.
“Xiaoice is a critical artificial intelligence product for Microsoft and she has been first launched in China and Japan.” Dr. Yongdong Wang said, “We feel thrilled to work with SMG to introduce Xiaoice into the live TV programme and to jointly open a new chapter in the history of the scientific technology and television. As is well known, Microsoft has been carrying out the frontier researches in artificial intelligence for multiple years, and we are well equipped with the world’s leading technology research and development capabilities, product framework and artificial intelligence brands. Under the current circumstances, we will pay more attention to practicality by developing artificial intelligence products available to everyone rather than just put forward mere sci-tech concepts. As Xiaoice is gradually penetrating into human life, engaging herself in more jobs and playing more social roles, Microsoft expects her to bring more bliss to human beings.”