We’ve established that we essentially inhabit Ghost in the Shell through our evolving reality, so a Japanese TV first that took place days ago comes as little surprise. Shizuoka Broadcasting employed its first CG announcer from Sony and Kyodo Digital News’ ‘News Manager’ program on March 31st, giving the futuristic method a test run. The program can convert a news manuscript into spoken word, and will then deliver the report through a CG model, who relays the information with natural vocal tone and facial expressions.
Sony’s own inaugural test run of the program was executed using two models, Midori Sawamura and Maho Morishita, last August on the Sony Vision Shibuya screen at Shibuya’s renowned ‘scramble intersection’. Each of these characters were designed with supervision by Sword Art Online studio A-1 Pictures, very much an apt line to draw from the increasing versatility of VR and digital avatars.
It was Sawamura (pictured above) who was chosen to appear on Shizuoka Broadcasting’s Ebuai Shizuoka Enta live programme for a minute and a half, in order to test the audience response. The viewer reaction to the test run will be the decider on whether Sawamura lands a full-time job at the news station. If her performance was deemed satisfactory by the broadcasters, and the audience excitement is there, the station will consider hiring her as a regular newscaster.