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Sunday, November 11, 2018

China’s state-run press agency has created an ‘AI anchor’ to read the news. 11-12

Xinhua, China’s state-run press agency, has unveiled new “AI anchors” — digital composites created from footage of human hosts that read the news using synthesized voices.
It’s not clear exactly what technology has been used to create the anchors, but they’re in line with the most recent machine learning research. It seems that Xinhua has used footage of human anchors as a base layer, and then animated parts of the mouth and face to turn the speaker into a virtual puppet. By combining this with a synthesized voice, Xinhua can program the digital anchors to read the news, far quicker than using traditional CGI. (We’ve reached out to AI experts in the field to see what their analysis is.)
According to reports from Xinhua and the South China Morning Post, two anchors (one for English broadcasts and one for Chinese) were created in collaboration with local search engine company Sogou. Xinhua says the anchors have “endless prospects” and can be used to cheaply generate news reports for the agency’s TV, web, and mobile output.
Each anchor can “work 24 hours a day on its official website and various social media platforms, reducing news production costs and improving efficiency,” says Xinhua.
The technology has its limitations. In the videos above and below of the English-speaking anchor, it’s obvious that the range of facial expressions are limited, and the voice is clearly artificial. But machine learning research in this area is making swift improvements, and it’s not hard to imagine a future where AI anchors are indistinguishable from the real thing. 
This will strike many as a disturbing prospect, especially as the technology is being deployed in China. There, the press is constantly censored, and it is nearly impossible to get clear reports of even widespread events like the country’s suppression of the Muslim Uighur community. Creating fake anchors to read propaganda sounds chilling.
But what the actual effect on society may be if such anchors become widespread is hard to judge. If Xinhua wants someone to read the news without questioning it they don’t need AI to make that happen. Meanwhile, synthetic characters are slowly finding their way into mainstream culture, with figures like virtual pop star Hatsune Miku and CGI Instagram models familiarizing the public with this sort of creation.
But while these examples fall clearly into the world of entertainment, having AI anchors read the news suggests the technology could become more than a novelty. 


A close up of the Xinhua AI anchor’s face. Only the mouth looks edited.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The best video coming out of fifa world cup 2018

Senegal fans cleaning their stand after the match before leaving the stadium, after their historic victory against Poland.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

President Trump 's press conference after signing the document with Kim un Jong of North Korea.

We could see an unusually mellowed down version of President Trump at the Press conference. He seemed humble and humbled too by the occasion.

He gave credit to Kim's intelligence and tough negotiations skills. It was surprising to see him not getting perturbed by tricking and sticky question.

He clearly seemed overawed by the situation, but handled it with maturity and deftness.
Yesterday, I almost called him renegade. Today, he was anything but that.

Chairman Kim for his age ( just 26) seems to have shown, tremendous maturity as mentioned by President Trump. What Kim promised to give up was tremendous, however, what the people of North Korea stand to gain is also significant. Given the economic and industrial support, North Korea will also grow as fastl as China did, Japan and Germany did.

I know that cautious optimism is the correct course, but seeing President Trump's confidence, we can aim for much more.

For now, both Japan and South Korea can breathe easy and feel safe from attack by North Korea. Similarly, these countries have succeeded in not giving United States a pretext to open another theatre of war in Asia.

All these apart, the opening sentence that Chairman Kim spoke "Happy to meet you Mr. President" will reverberate in everyone's ear for along time.

Hope, he meant, what he said....

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Modi Economic Policy, A case of Charismatic Choas , How much hallow, How much substance???

The Ministry of Statistics reported growth of 6.7 percent, down from 7.1 percent for a year earlier. However, economists expect growth to be robust in the current financial year.

However, when we compare the growth for the period Jan-March 2017, we see finally see a growth of 0.7 % compared to last year for the same period. Finally, albeit slowly, we seem to be recovering from the impact of demonetisation.

But, in the coming months of this year, we may again see government policies which may adversely affect the economic growth.

This being the election year the government may formulate policies to appease people or at least a part of community. History tells us that, whenever a government formulates a populistic policy, it goes against the long term interests of the people of the country.

The Modi government has already more than 4,300 crores of tax payer’s money for publicity and the promotion of its various schemes. This is based on the information given by the government ministries in response to the RTI by people. This being election year, much more of the poor taxpayer’s money will go in projecting the government’s achievement.

The Amount of Money Modi Government Spent On Publicity Is Enough To Feed One Million Children For 3 Years


As if, the self created economic turmoil is not enough, the ruling BJP has been pushed to desperation, and frustration by the raising oil prices and adverse by poll results. We only have the prime minister to blame for this situation. He inherited a situation, when the oil prices were dropping and reached a position of almost 50% of the present rate.

He did not pass on the benefit of the bonanza to the people of the country, who were the rightful owners, nor did he create an oil fund to deposit the surplus. If he had done that, the surplus deposited in the account could have been deployed to create a buffer and subsidise to certain extent at least the burden on people.

Where did this huge money go??

How and where was the money deployed???

Was it used for Fiscal expenditure, or was it deployed for people welfare schemes???

Why was an oil surplus fund not setup???

Was the economic management so poor, that, the government did not envisage a future situation, where the USD could appreciate and as a fallout could bring a resultant increase in crude oil.

Silence is not an answer to every question. The government and more specifically the prime minister is accountable to the people of the country for every rupee earned and spent.

We of course don’t mind the prime minister and universities refusing to answer the RTI regarding the prime minister’s educational qualifications???

You cannot do the same with the public money.

The previous government had a galaxy of economic experts led prime minister, who himself was an economist or global repute. Plus, he had another great economist and global expert as head of planning commission. Another great economist as the Chief Economic Advisor and later as the RBI governor. To add to this he had a glittering panel of economists as members of Economic Advisory Council to the prime minister. All the people put together formulated an economic policy, that people of India found it good enough to give UPA and Dr. Singh another term.

Modi immediately after coming to power dismantled the Economic Advisory Council. He could have retained the council but the members. And suddenly, after there was a hue and cry among people on account of mismanagement of Demonetisation and GST, he again reinstated the Economic Advisory Council. He is now pressurising the members to spread false and tailored accounts of economic growth and employment. Even renowned economist Dr. Surjit Bhalla is being used as a tool by the prime minster furthering the cause of BJP. It may be very difficult for poor Dr. Bhalla to calm down his questioning conscious. A conscientious person like him may perhaps hardest days of professional career.

I do not claim to be a know all in economics or governance. People may correct me wherever I might have gone wrong. I am open to dissents and disagreements and debates. Please feel free to criticise and correct me.

Best Wishes,


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Serrena Iyer, MBA 2018 gives the Harvard Business School Class Day student address. 05-30

Creating a new normal every moment of the day, everyday is the normal activity at Harvard Business School.

Just hear from her as how she overcome her physical disability and made it ot the famed Harvard Business School. Her speech is a great inspiration for everyone more specifically to the management professionals and aspiring ones.

Share this video with your friends, if you like it.