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Ananova - a more sentient news anchor

By fluffy grue in News
Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 01:22:08 AM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

There's a new reason for news anchors to be afraid - Ananova is a new virtual news anchor who mines for news stories off of various news feeds (the British PA News Desk, their Associated Press equivalent, for now with more coming later) and reads them with a personable interface. There's a more detailed story on CNN.


Personally, I think that this has a lot of potential. It's nice to have the news read aloud, and I'm sick of news anchors who seem to think they're real people - this one makes absolutely no pretenses about it. :) It's also refreshing to see a news anchor with cyan hair for a change.

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Ananova - a more sentient news anchor | 23 comments (23 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
This is the kind of stuff I want to... (none / 0) (#6)
by Velian on Thu Apr 20, 2000 at 09:52:26 PM EST

Velian voted 1 on this story.

This is the kind of stuff I want to see on kuro5hin.org. Great article, and VERY cool. Even if it'd get old after a while with the cyan hair thing, this is just simply damn cool.

Ok, so this has been seen elsehwere... (none / 0) (#2)
by Inoshiro on Thu Apr 20, 2000 at 10:10:54 PM EST

Inoshiro voted 1 on this story.

Ok, so this has been seen elsehwere (including in the local rag next to the comics, wth..).. The people behind claim it's "just a computer with a face" which appeals to those silly people who think computers (just the hardware) have personalities.. Which is very wrong.

The idea of having a cute, skinable agent which can summarize news trawled from usenet for me.. Now that's Snow Crash-like in its amazingly coolness :-)



--
[ イノシロ ]
She just doesn't beat Soledad O'Bri... (none / 0) (#3)
by xah on Thu Apr 20, 2000 at 10:24:10 PM EST

xah voted 1 on this story.

She just doesn't beat Soledad O'Brien.

Re: She just doesn't beat Soledad O'Bri... (none / 0) (#20)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 05:40:34 PM EST

She just doesn't beat Soledad O'Brien.

A man after my own heart. Soledad rocks! I've had a crush on her ever since she was on CNET TV. :o)



[ Parent ]

Re: She just doesn't beat Soledad O'Bri... (none / 0) (#22)
by xah on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 07:50:12 PM EST

I've had a crush on her since she was on "The Net." An old show on MSNBC.

[ Parent ]
Re: She just doesn't beat Soledad O'Bri... (none / 0) (#23)
by rusty on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 07:55:32 PM EST

I remember her from The Net. That was like the first show on MSNBC ever. And it used to have that virtual bartender guy, too, or whatever he was supposed to be. Gossip reporter maybe?

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
The Japanese made their first digit... (3.50 / 2) (#1)
by techt on Thu Apr 20, 2000 at 11:03:51 PM EST

techt voted 1 on this story.

The Japanese made their first digital media star or aidoru (Japanese for "idol") in 1996 with the introduction of the DK96 (for Digital Kid 1996) but most knew her by the name Kioko Date. Kioko, a pop singer, was given an extensive background story which included where she lived, what her favourite foods were, what she did for fun, and even her blood type[1]. The aidoru's voice, from what I understand, was not digitally synthesized. She was more image, or package to sell human composed and sung music. However, there is reasearch into synthesizing natural sounding singing voices. Soon I imagine it will be possible to generate entertainment on a per person tailored basis based on an individual consumer's viewing and listening habits. While Ananova is still pretty rough around the edges, it is a step in the right direction. Having a friendly face and encouraging voice as an interface to a database -- or in the future perhaps even an aidoru as a Personal User Interface to an OS -- may help those who are unsure about using new technology feel more comfortable. After all, isn't that really what an interface, be it CLI or GUI or PUI, is ultimately all about? [1] Why blood type? Short answer: I don't know why. I've been told the Japanese enjoy learning of the blood types of their celebrities.
--
Proud member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation!
Are You? http://www.eff.org/support/joineff.html

Re: The Japanese made their first digit... (none / 0) (#13)
by fluffy grue on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 02:44:22 AM EST

And, of course, anyone who's seen Macross Plus knows all about Sharon Apple, the logical extension of this concept one step further. Actually, the subplot in M+ regarding Sharon Apple is that she was mostly a front for a live human providing the emotions to an AI, though later on the AI figures them out for itself.

Talk about life imitating art, though. M+ came out in 1994.

As far as blood type goes: I have no idea why the Japanese have this obsession either, but IIRC, blood type is one of the 'vital stats' you can put in to the Chao in Sonic Adventure (a tamagotchi-like thing you can carry around on the Dreamcast VMU, for those who don't know). I'd check for myself but my VMUs are both currently without batteries.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Interesting but mere fluffy link pr... (4.00 / 1) (#8)
by pvg on Thu Apr 20, 2000 at 11:19:14 PM EST

pvg voted -1 on this story.

Interesting but mere fluffy link propagation again. Where's the thought, analysis, insight the author is adding? -pvg

Re: Interesting but mere fluffy link pr... (none / 0) (#12)
by fluffy grue on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 02:40:37 AM EST

The commentary is what the comment section is for. Duh.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: Interesting but mere fluffy link pr... (3.00 / 2) (#18)
by pvg on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 03:00:55 PM EST

Not exactly. Commentary section is for comments by _others_. A link is not all that much to comment on. It's of some interest but you can find it anywhere. Links or news items combined with a modicum of independent thought are more scarce. They are also more interesting. Duh.

[ Parent ]
Re: Interesting but mere fluffy link pr... (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by fluffy grue on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 03:23:38 PM EST

The way I see it, the article serves as a seed for discussion. It shouldn't be necessary to bring whole heaping piles of insight to it, when the article can be discussed on its own. Personally, I *prefer* when the article is neutral, since it gives much more room for discussion; otherwise, comments are either of the "I agree" type or the "I disagree" type.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: Interesting but mere fluffy link pr... (none / 0) (#21)
by pvg on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 07:03:11 PM EST

Well, I think we view the purpose of submitted articles somewhat differently. What you are describing makes sense for news - a largely factual presentation that leaves the analysis to the discussion that ensues. There isn't anything in the guidelines or mission statement that says this type of content is inappropriate or unwanted.

The way I see it, though, is that there are many, many, many sources on the web for news. There are few places that carry good analysis or opinion pieces. There is a lot of value in a well-articulated view, whether or not one agrees with it. Lots of people read, say, _The Economist_ and do not neccessarily agree with all of its editorial positions. Is Kurohin mostly about news or mostly about views? I don't know. I personally am not looking for yet another news site so I tend to -1 straight news. You seem to prefer just-the-facts-ma'am-style news. The submission and moderation system give us the option of influencing the flavour of the site and the threaded comments provide us with a place to 'duh' it out. Perhaps a useful addition to Scoop would be categorization of submissions along these lines.

-pvg

[ Parent ]

Re: Interesting but mere fluffy link pr... (1.00 / 1) (#14)
by mattm on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 02:56:20 AM EST

Where's the thought, analysis, insight the author is adding?

Yeah, Fluffy Grue! You forgot to say that CNN is a tired old liberal rag.



[ Parent ]
Re: Interesting but mere fluffy link pr... (none / 0) (#17)
by rusty on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 03:19:37 AM EST

Ha! Few people know this, but the "tired old liberal rag" guy is my brother-in-law-to-be. He's really not so bad. ;-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Heh, that's funny, I just ran acros... (none / 0) (#7)
by Notromda on Thu Apr 20, 2000 at 11:30:03 PM EST

Notromda voted 1 on this story.

Heh, that's funny, I just ran across that last night. I'm not sure yet what I think about it - the speech is a bit choppy (streaming issues aside), but hearing the news is indeed much more convenient.

Is this thing reading a script? I'm interested in the technology used... most text to speach generators that I've heard just trip up way too often. This one does seem to hve decent inflections, most of the time.

On the other hand, what's the point? Couldn't a real person read the script just as easily? The script writer can still write in such a way as to make Ananova sound bad.

I can't get it to work on my Linux ... (none / 0) (#4)
by FlinkDelDinky on Thu Apr 20, 2000 at 11:37:42 PM EST

FlinkDelDinky voted 1 on this story.

I can't get it to work on my Linux system. Something about rpnhelper not being on my path.

I don't think this is a big deal. I'd'v like to seen it though.

A lot of people develope relationships with anchors so for them this may not work. I actually heard a discussion about this on the radio yesterday. KABC 790 Larry Elder show, he was talking to a TV Anchor and she had an intristing objection.

An anchor can say 'No, I won't report that.', an anchor can also fight for a story. Digital fluf can do neither.

Besides, don't we all get the news from our homepages?

Re: I can't get it to work on my Linux ... (none / 0) (#9)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 02:08:41 AM EST

Open http://www.ananova.com/video/news_hi.rpm or news_lo.rpm in RealPlayer (File, Open Location). You can get the filename by looking at the HTML.

[ Parent ]
Re: I can't get it to work on my Linux ... (none / 0) (#10)
by FlinkDelDinky on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 02:24:14 AM EST

Thanks for the tip! I'm watching her now, for the first and last time. The text reader is cool. I can see it being used as an agent for all kinds of text. Could be really helpful for the blind.

I agree with everybody else, the hair is great!

[ Parent ]

alrighty then...... (none / 0) (#5)
by evro on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 12:47:03 AM EST

evro voted 0 on this story.

alrighty then...
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

Re: alrighty then...... (none / 0) (#11)
by fluffy grue on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 02:39:07 AM EST

Interesting. I was reading /. at that time, and I don't recall this story from then. My bad, I guess, though it's new in that they actually launched their newscaster on Wednesday, hence why there was a CNN article on it.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: alrighty then...... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
by evro on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 02:57:38 AM EST

Heh, it wasn't intended as an insult... anyway that Slashdot article just introduced it, at the time I believe it was still vapor. Cool to see it materialize.

And, may I say, "Hooray for 'mindless' link propagation!" Some people here apparently think no story should be posted unless some insightful write-up accompanies it. I find this akin to having to justify the link, and since it requires so little effort on their part to click a link and read the article itself, they should be able to form their own opinions regarding the merit of the link.

That said, I have nothing against insightful commentary. But it seems kuro5hin is being divided somewhat between the "I'll vote down anything that's just mindless link propagation" and... well... the rest.

just some thoughts from a fellow mindless link propagator. (since that story is apparently going to be voted down, I'll take this opportunity to note that many people seemed not to notice that the site, and the idea behind it, was a satire, which makes me wonder somewhat about the voters. I mean, I even said in the "writeup" that it was tongue-in-cheek...)
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"
[ Parent ]

Mindless linkage (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by rusty on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 03:18:11 AM EST

That is in part what sites like this are for. I think we need to provide a running list of cool links, that you don't have much to say about. Threshold low, voting quick, stories short. Then hopefully everything would be in it's proper place in the world... :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Ananova - a more sentient news anchor | 23 comments (23 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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