KUWAIT CITY – A Kuwaiti media outlet has unveiled a virtual news presenter generated using artificial intelligence, with plans for it to read online bulletins.
“Fedha” appeared on the Twitter account of the Kuwait News website as an image of a woman, her light-coloured hair uncovered, wearing a black jacket and white T-shirt.
“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 classical Arabic.
The site 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.
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.
Kuwait ranked 158 out of 180 countries and territories in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2022 Press Freedom Index.