Kuwait unveils blonde-haired AI-generated virtual news presenter called 'Fedha' with plans for her to read online bulletins
A Kuwaiti news outlet has unveiled the country's first ever virtual news presenter generated using artificial intelligence, with plans for her to read online bulletins.
Kuwait News stunned social media users by uploading a short clip of 'Fedha' - an AI-generated blonde-haired female news reader who sported a black jacket and white T-shirt as she introduced herself.
'I'm Fedha, the first presenter in Kuwait who works with artificial intelligence at Kuwait News. What kind of news do you prefer? Let's hear your opinions,' she said in Arabic.
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The online website is affiliated with the Kuwait Times, founded in 1961 as the Gulf region's first English-language daily.
Abdullah Boftain, deputy editor in chief for both outlets, said the move is a test of AI's potential to offer 'new and innovative content'.
In future Fedha could adopt the Kuwaiti accent and present news bulletins on the site's Twitter account, which has 1.2 million followers, he said.
'Fedha is a popular, old Kuwaiti name that refers to silver, the metal. We always imagine robots to be silver and metallic in colour, so we combined the two,' Boftain said.
The presenter's blonde hair and light-coloured eyes reflect the oil-rich country's diverse population of Kuwaitis and expatriates, according to Boftain.
'Fedha represents everyone,' he said.
Her initial 13-second video generated a flood of reactions on social media, including from journalists.
One user said: 'What do you guys think of her, are real-life newsreaders about to be taken over by robots??'
However, others were in favour of the move, with one simply tweeting: 'Love this idea.'
The rapid rise of AI globally has raised the promise of benefits, such as in health care and the elimination of mundane tasks, but also fears, for example over its potential spread of disinformation, threat to certain jobs, and to artistic integrity.
Dr Clare Walsh, director of the Institute of Analytics and AI, told MailOnline: 'There are many excellent applications of AI to solve real world problems. Clearly, this is not one of them.'
However, AI expert Rehan Haque said he 'could not see a significant issue with an AI-generated news presenter.
The CEO of MetaTalent.ai does believe, however, that the development of AI could affect relationships. 'Consumers normally build trust through the newsperson/anchor, which could jeopardise the originality of the editorial process,' he told MailOnline.
'With something as essential and consumer-facing as the news, it's important news corporations using AI are transparent about its use to avoid the risk of eroding trust with their audience.
'In this case, it's clear that the Kuwaiti news channel behind this viral tweet has been forthcoming and open about their intentions to use an AI-generated newsreader, so I'm always going to favour technology that I see as advancing humanity.'
Those who have spoken out about its rise include Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak - who along with 1,000 other technology leaders called for a pause on the 'dangerous race' to develop AI.
In an open letter on The Future of Life Institute, Musk and the others argued that humankind doesn't yet know the full scope of the risk involved in advancing the technology.
In future Fedha could adopt the Kuwaiti accent and present news bulletins on the site's Twitter account, which has 1.2 million followers
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is among those who have called for artificial intelligence development to be paused
They asked all AI labs to stop developing their products for at least six months while more risk assessment is done.
Just last week, a law professor was falsely accused of a sexually harassing a student by ChatGPT.
Meanwhile, last month, a Belgian married father-of-two killed himself after talking to an AI chatbot about his global warming fears.
Musk and others fear that the technology will become so advanced that it will no longer require - or listen to- human interference.
It is a fear that is even acknowledged by the CEO of AI - the company that created ChatGPT - who said earlier this month that the tech could be developed and harnessed to commit 'widespread' cyberattacks.