An upcoming national news channel is replacing human anchors with hyper-realistic AI-generated avatars.
Channel 1, set to launch next year, plans to use digitally generated people and digital doubles of real actors who had their bodies scanned.
Demonstration videos show anchors that talk, look, and move like real humans, but were designed on computers using artificial intelligence technology.
Channel 1 plans to stream its news on TV apps and is set to add a translation feature to roll it out globally.
The outlet’s founder told DailyMail.com that misuse of AI-generated news is inevitable, but Channel 1 aims to ‘get out in front of this and create a responsible use of the technology.’
Some of Channel 1’s anchors are ‘digital doubles,’ avatars created from a scan of an actual person. These anchors will read the news with a digitally generated voice
For the more important stories, actual human anchors will report from the scene, founder Adam Mosam told DailyMail.com.
Part of this responsibility, he said, is being transparent with viewers about what footage is original and what footage is AI-generated.
For situations where original footage is unavailable – a news story about dinosaur extinction, for instance – AI-generated video will be shown onscreen and labeled as such.
The company likens this approach to courtroom sketches in a recently released teaser video.
Los Angeles-based Channel 1 will launch on free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) – apps like Crackle, Tubi, or Pluto – in February or March, with a Channel 1 app to come in the summer, Mosam said.
An AI-generated anchor reads the news, including auto-generated polls that aggregate opinions from social media
Channel 1’s ‘digital doubles’ mimic real people’s body language while their animated face reads the news in a digital voice
The actual information contained in Channel 1’s reports will come from three sources: partnerships with yet-to-be-named legacy news outlets, commissioned freelance journalists, and AI-generated news reports drawn from trusted official sources like public records and government documents.
Mosam would not say which legacy news outlets have partnered with Channel 1.
Addressing DailyMail.com’s questions about public concerns that AI can generate false or unreliable information, he clarified that humans will be involved in news production at every step.
A digital double news anchor named ‘Oliver’ repetitively tents his fingers as he reads entertainment news
‘We do have people in the loop, they just end up being more efficient’ due to their use of AI tools.
One of Channel 1’s main goals is to produce personalized news streams with an app that functions like TikTok and learns what each viewer wants to see.
‘We believe that we can create a better news product to really better inform people,’ Mosam said.
Rather than giving viewers a standardized broadcast that plays the same hour or two of content for everyone in the world, Channel 1 will allow consumers to select which news stories they watch.
‘The average person watches 25 minutes of news a night on cable, so that might be 9 or 10 stories,’ Mosam said.
Channel 1’s use of digital doubles helps their news anchors appear more natural, avoiding some of the problems of fully digitally created avatars – like uncanny fingers or teeth
‘If we can generate 500 stories and choose the right 9 or 10 for you, then we’re going to do a better job of informing you, showing you what you’re looking for in your allotted time.’
And over time, Mosam said, the app will learn a viewer’s preferences and habits.
Channel 1’s anchors can read the news in a variety of languages. The company’s sampler video shows an anchor reading in Greek and Tamil
‘If it was financial news, maybe we’re reporting on the stocks you own or the areas you’re interested in. If it was sports, maybe it’s your favorite teams.’
Another AI-based that Channel 1 will deploy is translation for international audiences.
The company’s sample reel included a local news story featuring a French man, with his voice and mouth movements digitally replaced with an English translation.
As buzz builds around the company, they are fundraising to hit their growth goals, but Mosam is tight-lipped about the dollar amounts.
Using digital double anchors raises concerns about people’s rights to their own likeness, which actors raised as a major concern in the recent Screen Actors Guild (SAG) negotiations and strikes.
‘We wouldn’t want our likeness to be used to something we don’t believe in, to say something insane, to say something untrue to fool people,’ Mosam said. ‘That’s a terrifying thought. And we plan to follow all the best practices and standards that are being laid out whether it’s our industry, the entertainment industry, or just, you know, as humanity at large deals with this.’