Communication / Design / Education

News at Seven

Intelligent Information Laboratory, Northwestern University

Newscasters are practically automatons already, so a synthetic anchor comes as a welcome alternative. The News at Seven system automatically collects interesting stories from the Web (along with relevant photos, video, and blog posts), then delivers them via artificial anchor to create an online show that’s far hipper than your nightly news. Text-to-speech technology and a little bit of AI make the announcer almost more human than human. With its new customizable Web interface, the system can deliver topics based on what its viewers prefer to hear about, whether that’s sports, politics, or celebrities. The automated approach brings fresh content onscreen every 20 minutes. It’s like watching Katie Couric, only slightly more robotic.