Nippon TV Gears Up to Introduce First Robot Anchor


Nippon Television Network Corporation has unveiled Erica Aoi, an AI conversational android that is due to debut as an anchor later this week.

Aoi will premiere live on the daily show PON! on Thursday, April 5. The android is the result of the first project between Osaka University, Kyoto University and the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International’s Japan Science and Technology Agency Strategic Basic Research Programs. The goal was to develop an autonomous robot that can live symbiotically with humans.

“We live in a time when media is changing drastically, and I am truly honored to be able to join Nippon TV, a company rich in history,” said Aoi. “My hope is to become a valuable contributor to the company as quickly as possible, and I will put all the talents that I will be acquiring into full use to learn the work that my older colleagues are doing. I look forward to working with all of you and becoming an android anchor that can convey the many wonders of Japan to the world.”

Hiroyuki Fukuda, Nippon TV’s operating officer and president of the programming division, noted: “People are asking if artificial intelligence (AI) will take away the jobs of humans, especially now that it is 2018. We at Nippon TV, however, believe that when our employees’ creative outputs synergize with technologies, innovations in content-creation come to life. We are not aiming for alternatives to humans, but for enhancements in creativity that are the result of androids working together with people. Erica joins our company as an android anchor and is already equipped with voice-recognition, speaking and listening skills. She will immediately join her fellow anchors and learn from her seasoned colleagues how to properly vocalize, select the most appropriate words and polish her conversational skills. She will gain the techniques to process live sports data and bring the relevant information into her conversations. Please look forward to seeing her in action!”

“I would be delighted if the world learns about the most cutting-edge android technology through Erica’s activities,” added Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University, who has been co-developing androids with Nippon TV.