- Since April 3, the M Le Média channel has been broadcasting the morning weather report presented by an avatar created by artificial intelligence (AI).
- Jade, this is the name of this virtual presenter, was recruited for lack of human candidates selected for the position.
- The initiative is part of the media’s innovation strategy, which does not exclude using AI for other areas.
Should weather presenters be worried about their jobs? There are reasons to believe so. Since April 3, the Swiss channel M Le Média has entrusted its weather forecast for French-speaking Switzerland to Jade. Everything is fine you say. No because Jade is an avatar created from scratch by artificial intelligence software.
Rainy weather for weather presenters
She has a very realistic appearance and voice, but also a few signs that betray her virtual nature: a fixed gaze, jerky gestures, a frozen expression. Jade was not the first choice of the media, which had launched a call for applications to find a presenter or a human presenter. But none of the applicants was retained, for lack of skills or availability.
It was then that the idea of using an AI emerged, as a practical and innovative solution. Philippe Morax, the general manager of the Millennium Media group, owner of the channel, welcomes this initiative. “New technologies are part of our innovation strategy to offer our audience quality content”, he explains to 20 Minutes . It ensures that the use of AI is done with respect and responsibility towards the public and employees, and that it is framed by vigilance over the sources of information.-
Jade isn’t the first AI to present the weather on TV. In 2016, in China, an AI developed by Microsoft debuted on the Shanghai Dragon TV channel. In 2021, in Kuwait, a media had unveiled a virtual host generated by artificial intelligence. But these experiments raise ethical and social questions: how to inform viewers of the nature of the avatar? What is the role of the journalist behind the text read by the AI? What is the impact on the employment and training of media professionals?
Philippe Morax does not rule out using AI to automate other areas of the company, without specifying which ones. He asserts that AI is a tool for improving and producing content, not a substitute for humans. Jade, on the other hand, continues to present the weather report every morning, always with her unchanging smile, even when it rains.